AC Tropical Fish
(http://www.aquaticcommunity.com) Presents

William Berg's

Tropical Fish
A Beginners Guide
Copyright © 2005 William Berg & AC Tropical Fish
All materials contained in this e-book are the property of William Berg & AC Tropical Fish (aquaticcommunity.com). The following rules apply to reproduce, modify, distribute or republish materials contained in this book. Aquarium organizations We welcome aquarium organisations to republish printed versions of this e-book if they wish to distribute it to their members. We do however ask that you send a copy to AC Tropical fish and if possible post a link to AC Tropical Fish (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com) on the organizations web site. Contact admin@aquaticcommunity.com for the address to which to send the copy of the print. Aquarium organisations may not modify the content, alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of content without or written permission. If aquarium organisations wish to give their members a digital copy of the e-book, it must be offered via a link to Ac tropical fish main page or to the download page where each member can download their own copy. Fish stores Fish stores, pet stores and other commercial entities may produce printed copies of this e-book or section thereof as a free service to their customers. You are not allowed to charge the customers for reprints. You may not modify the content, alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of content. Websites and Internet use You may not reproduce any part of this e-book on your website or otherwise online without our permission. If you want to share this e-book with other aquarists, please send them a link to the download page from where they can download their own copy of the e-book. You are also very welcome to post a link to AC Tropical Fish (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com) on your homepage, blog, or in aquarium forums. You may not reproduce, modify, distribute or republish materials contained in this book without our written permission in other situations than those mentioned above. Please contact admin@aquaticcommunity.com if you would like permission to use the e-book or parts thereof in another way than those described above. Pictures: The pictures used on the front page of this book are public domain or released under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

Tropical fish - a beginner's guide
Tropical fish - a beginner's guide is made available for free download by AC Tropical Fish (aquaticcommunity.com). By offering this comprehensive guide to successful fish keeping for beginners, we hope to increase the number of happy successful aquarists – and healthy fish! All aquarists are welcomed to download their own free version of Tropical fish - a beginner's guide from our website. And we would like to ask you to help us to spread the word about this guide to all prospective beginner aquarists out there. We are planning for this e-book to be the first in a series of free e-books written to help aquarists give their fish a good home and allow them to get the most out of their hobby. The work on a second book in the series about Betta fish (Siamese fighting fish) has already begun. The future of the series is however partly dependent on the success of the first two books since their will be little meaning for us to devoted the considerable time required to write and edit an e-book like this if no one are interested in reading it. We would therefore like to ask for your help to spread the word of this e-book by linking to it from your blog or homepage and by telling your aquarist friends on forums and your offline friends about the ebook and the fact that it can be downloaded from AC Tropical Fish (aquaticcommunity.com). You can find codes that you can use to link to our site and thereby supporting our work below. You are of course welcome to use any other code to link to us as well. HTML code suitable for blogs and homepages, including Livejournal / Blogspot, MSN Spaces, MySpace, The Facebook and Yahoo 360 / Xanga: <a href=”http://www.aquaticcommunity.com”> Tropical fish – a beginners guide </a> <a href=”http://www.aquaticcommunity.com”> Free Tropical fish e-book </a>

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Chapter 1............................................................................................................................. 7 How to set up an aquarium ............................................................................................. 7 Choosing a spot for your aquarium................................................................................. 8 Choosing an aquarium .................................................................................................... 9 Acrylic or Glass Aquarium ......................................................................................... 9 Putting the aquarium in place ....................................................................................... 10 Choosing equipment ..................................................................................................... 10 Lighting..................................................................................................................... 10 Heating...................................................................................................................... 11 Filtration.................................................................................................................... 11 - Mechanical filtration............................................................................................... 11 - Chemical filtration.................................................................................................. 12 - Biological filtration................................................................................................. 12 - Other types of filtration .......................................................................................... 12 Air Pumps ................................................................................................................. 13 Decorations ................................................................................................................... 13 Plants............................................................................................................................. 15 Water test kit ................................................................................................................. 16 Setting up the aquarium ................................................................................................ 17 Water chemistry ............................................................................................................ 19 Conditioning water........................................................................................................ 21 Cycling.......................................................................................................................... 22 Adding Fish................................................................................................................... 23 Stress in your aquarium ................................................................................................ 26 Water problems and their solutions .............................................................................. 27 Tropical fish aquarium problems .................................................................................. 28 Vacation care for your fish ........................................................................................... 29 Safety ............................................................................................................................ 30 Chapter 2 – Plants ............................................................................................................. 33 Choosing plants for your aquarium............................................................................... 33 Factors that affect plant growth .................................................................................... 35 Water......................................................................................................................... 35 Lighting..................................................................................................................... 36 Substrate.................................................................................................................... 36 Nutrients.................................................................................................................... 37 Filtration.................................................................................................................... 38 Suitable plants for beginners......................................................................................... 38 Caring for plants ........................................................................................................... 39 Propagating plants......................................................................................................... 41 Algae ............................................................................................................................. 42 Chapter 3 - Fish................................................................................................................. 44 Choosing Fish ............................................................................................................... 44 Biotopes ........................................................................................................................ 45 The Root biotope of South America ......................................................................... 46 The Asian Lowland Still water Biotope.................................................................... 46 The Community Aquarium ........................................................................................... 46

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....................................................... 61 Fat-soluble carotenoid............................................ 73 Tips for effective breeding..Chapter 4 ....... 52 Monthly Routine ...................................... 61 Types of food .............................................................. 51 Checking the Filter............................................................... 69 Spawning Methods.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 70 Nest Builders.......................................................................................... 54 Filtration..........................................................................................................Breeding Fish ...................................................... 74 Raising Fry......................................... 72 Conditioning the parents ............................................................................... 78 Prevent diseases .. 52 Weekly Routine ............................................................................. 50 Checking the fish ............... 69 Mouth Brooders ............................................... 50 Checking the water .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Aquarium Maintenance.......................................................... 70 Equipment management while breeding fish........................................................................................................................................ 59 Sound ...................................................................................................................................................... 51 Feeding the fish.......... 64 Feeding Fry ....................................................................................... 61 Fatty acids ....................................................................................................................... 50 Daily routine ........................... 61 Carbohydrates ........................................................................................................... 61 Vitamins and minerals ............................................ 75 Failure in Reproduction .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 79 Quarantine Aquarium............................................. 59 Protein ... 65 Feeding Habits ..................................................... 63 Cultivation of some common live food .................................................................................. 71 Choosing the parents....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 78 Buying healthy fish ...................................................................................................................................... 69 Egg Scatterers .................................................................................................................... 70 Livebearers............................................................................................................................................. 81 Gill Disease............................................................................................ 54 The “Old Aquarium” Syndrome ..............................................com 5 ......................................................................... 62 Live foods ............................................................. 76 Chapter 7 – Diseases......................................... 59 Color and Buoyancy of food............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 59 Understanding feeding and digestion in fish ............................Food ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 69 Egg Depositors........................................................................ 58 Feeding Fish.................................................................... 80 Columnaris....................................... 58 Flavor and taste .............. 81 Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity........ 66 Chapter 6 ................................................................................................................ 59 Smell ............................... 55 Chapter 5 .........................................................

....................................................................................................com 6 .......................................................................... 83 Fish Lice.................................. 83 Swim Bladder Disease ...........................................Ick ........................................................................................................................ 83 Cloudy Eye. 82 Pop-Eye........................... 83 Treating Fish .......................................... 83 Water Quality Induced Diseases............................................................................................................................................................ 81 Dropsy.......................................................... 82 Fungal Infections .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 82 Hole in the Head ............................................................................................................ 82 Fin-rot ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 83 Nematode Worms ......... 84 Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity................................

A lot of fish species have intricate demands and in order to successfully keep such species you will need to research them more thoroughly. There is however a lot of beautiful and interesting fish species to choose among even for the novice aquarist. Acquiring a good aquarium for your fish is not a very difficult job as long as you give it some thought before you actually get it. energetic fish swimming in clear waters and surrounded by green vegetation is a stunning sight. It is important to keep in mind that different fish has different demands and this book does only give you basic knowledge about aquarium keeping. It needs a little bit of common sense and foresight. A beautiful aquarium with healthy.Chapter 1 Have you been thinking of adding a freshwater aquarium to your home? It's a lovely way to enjoy a miniature riverbed from the comforts of your own room. There are some obvious considerations to be taken into account. It is advisable to start out with comparatively easy fish species before you advance to more delicate ones. As a person who has spent more than 20 years in this hobby. There are many dos and don'ts that are learnt over a long period of trial and error. By following these basic instructions you will be able to successfully set up and maintain a freshwater aquarium with easy or moderately difficult fish species. But before you begin. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. How to set up an aquarium An aquarium. There are several things to consider before you purchase an aquarium. The time that you spend with these basic steps will save you a lot of time and trouble at a later stage. secrets and methods you will find in these pages. and by following the instructions in this book you will be capable of successfully keeping a beautiful aquarium filled with thriving vegetation and healthy and colorful fish.com 7 . I have tried and tested many of the tips. you need to be armed with all the relevant facts. This book is written mainly for beginners and I have therefore tried to keep things on a very basic level and use a language that is easy to understand. is a container that can sustain fish and other aquatic life for a longer period of time. to put it simply. Setting up and fully stocking a good aquarium will take anywhere between a couple of weeks and a month. How much time you are willing to spend on the aquarium? What kind of aquarium do you want to buy? What is the ideal spot for your aquarium? What kind of fish should you put in your aquarium? How do you keep your fish and their environment healthy in the easiest and quickest way? How much time would it all take to maintain? What should you feed your fish and how much? What should you do when diseases strike? These are just some of the many questions that you need to think about. Setting up an aquarium is not really a science but needs to be done correctly to give your fish the best possible home.

So. Any good home has a certain décor. but interesting if you have these) Maintenance items like scrubber. choose a place where you can work easily and without any interference. Any aquarium over 10 gallons/ 40 L will weigh at least a hundred and fifty pounds / 70 Kg when filled and decorated. Different types of biotopes works with different decors. A saltwater reef aquarium will for instance have a very different look than a well planted South American biotope. Here is a simple list of the items that you will need for a basic freshwater aquarium: An aquarium tank An aquarium stand A hood Lighting equipment Air pump Heater Thermometer Filters (internal or external) Gravel Decorations (optional. You do not want your children to push or fall on the aquarium while they play and injure themselves or break the aquarium glass. While choosing a spot for your aquarium. and sunlight will also promote the growth of algae in the water. siphon tube etc. The weight comes chiefly from the glass and the water. You will need to clean and change water at least monthly and better once a week. Water accessibility and easy disposal of dirty water and waste are some other important factors to consider while selecting a good spot for your aquarium as you don’t want to run around with buckets of water in your entire house. like the washing machine. special care has to be taken to keep the aquarium away from areas of frequent activity. and which shape that is best suited for that free space. In a family with children. and decoration such as gravel will further add to this Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. you must consider whether the general décor and lighting in the room will make it an attractive place for the new aquarium.com 8 .A good and well stocked aquarium needs quite a bit of equipment. Sunlight and heating or cooling surfaces will cause sudden and drastic changes in the temperature within the aquarium. you will need to think about how much free space you have for your aquarium. Take the type of biotope you plan to have in your aquarium into consideration when you decide if an aquarium will work with the décor of the chosen spot. Keep your aquarium away from machines that give out a lot of sound or cause vibration. Never place an aquarium in direct sunlight and keep the aquarium away from any heating or cooling surfaces. Choosing a spot for your aquarium First. whether that free space is open to sunlight. since this will stress the fish. You should also consider that an aquarium is very heavy so the chosen spot has to be able to support the weight of the aquarium.

Acrylic or Glass Aquarium Glass aquariums usually cost less and do not get scratches as easily as acrylic aquariums. and how to keep all the nooks and crannies hygienic are important considerations.com 9 . but the benefits of an aquarium that is larger than 30-gallon/120 L is not as significant as the difference between a 30-gallon/120 L aquarium and a smaller one. as they are bonded together by a silicone sealant. since this will provide enough room for more fish and is easier to maintain as it has enough water volume to dilute fish waste. Glass aquariums are also stronger. Choosing an aquarium How big should your aquarium be? Aquariums come in many shapes and sizes. The waste build up in small aquariums is quick and quite large in comparison with a larger aquarium. On a negative note can be said that glass aquariums are always much heavier than acrylic. However. Proper lighting will make glass aquariums look almost as clear as acrylic ones. An aquarium that is very deep is complicated to keep for the beginner aquarist. it is not only the beauty of the piece that counts. It is advisable to choose an aquarium that is at least 10 gallons/ 40 L. unlike acrylic aquariums. A small aquarium will therefore require very frequent water changes. While making your purchase. and can last for many years without any problems. Increased height means greater difficulty when cleaning and your aquarium might therefore always carry some amounts of waste even after a thorough clean up. This means that you can use a smaller heater in your aquarium to maintain the proper temperature. Glass aquariums are very durable. than these are easier to obtain as acrylic aquariums. Heavy aquariums will need to be kept on a sturdy stand rather than a shelf or a desk. Acrylic aquariums are much clearer than glass. The height of the aquarium is also a very important aspect. They need support only on the edges.weight. since small aquariums are much more difficult to maintain. A larger aquarium will naturally be even easier to maintain. Mundane matters like how easy it will be to clean out the aquarium regularly. Rapid changes in the temperature or water chemistry are harmful for fish. if you are looking for irregular shapes. Plants will not thrive in water that has poor light penetration and special lighting is therefore needed in deep planted aquariums. 30gallon/120 L is therefore an ideal beginner size. A 30-gallon/120 L aquarium is large enough to buffer against to rapid changes in water values. Changes in temperature or water chemistry will also take place more quickly in small aquariums. Acrylic aquariums do however scratch easily and can therefore only be Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. and have better insulation. Fish aquariums come in many shapes ranging from rectangular to hexagonal or even cylindrical. I would recommend a 30-gallon/120 L aquarium to novice aquarists. Poor light penetration is another problem with a deep aquarium.

Fluorescent bulbs can be purchased in sizes that cover the entire aquarium. and ending up on the floor is more often than not fatal for the fish unless you immediately spot it and put it back in the aquarium. Take care not to load any heavy items inside the aquarium while you carry it home. The price can also be an important factor when it comes to buying your first aquarium. other than the hood.com 10 . Fluorescent bulbs have another benefit as they uses less electricity. which can be decided by the size of the aquarium. thereby not affecting the water temperature at all. Putting the aquarium in place When you have selected the best aquarium for your needs. This will provide even lighting in all areas of the aquarium. With an open aquarium you will also risk casualties since fish often jump out of an open aquarium. Optimal plant growth requires a particular wattage. Fluorescent bulbs are a better choice despite the fact that they are a bit more expensive since they have long-term benefits. Here is a checklist that you need to consider: Look for any scratches on the aquarium before you make the purchase. Evaporation will lead to the water becoming concentrated with waste and animal. More water will evaporate form an aquarium where the water is open to sunlight. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Most hoods come with fluorescent or incandescent lighting. Some will lead to an increase in algae growth. Some of these will even assist plant growth. 1 gallon of water will require 1. Choosing equipment Lighting The first equipment that you will come across is probably the lighting for the aquarium. This may lead to scratching or even breakage. Glass aquariums are usually the cheaper alternative and there is also a wider selection of second hand glass aquariums than there is of second hand acrylic aquarium since glass aquariums are more durable. They burn cooler. These hoods come in various decorative shapes and colors. Get a tight fitting hood for the aquarium when you buy it.cleaned with specially made soft pads. Contamination from falling waste is another problem. heat etc. and can also cause water damages and mildew in the room around the aquarium. An open aquarium is never a healthy option. There are various accessories that go with your aquarium. Test to see if there are any leaks in the aquarium. There are a wide variety of fluorescent bulbs that emit different spectrums of light. Usually. Removing scratches from acrylic aquariums can be quite a troublesome procedure. it is time to take it home.and plant debris. An aquarium is a complete set of a number of equipment that works together. Thus an aquarium needs a good and sturdy hood.5 watts.

Even in places where the temperature is relatively stable. Under gravel filters are a type of mechanical filters that uses the aquarium gravel as filter material and trap the debris among the gravel. Carelessness can cause the glass of the heater to crack or even explode. It is therefore essential to have a thermometer that will read the temperature in the aquarium at all times and a heater that will heat the water when necessary. Heating A thermostatically controlled water heater will help to maintain a regular water temperature in the aquarium. Especially in the case of smaller aquariums. Filtration Basically. The more wattage your heater has. The crystal type thermometers that can be glued to the glass are very easy to read and inexpensive. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. once the light is switched off. This makes it easier to take readings. If you use incandescent lighting it is however better to turn on the lighting for a few fixed hours a day. . water is passed through a thin sponge or a screen. This is especially good in areas that get very hot during the day and cool off during the nights. Only fish that do well in cold water like goldfish should be kept in aquariums without heaters.Mechanical filtration In mechanical filtration. the water will become considerably hotter during the day. And at night. which removes the debris. the use of a heater is still recommended. chemical filtration and biological filtration. An immersible heater hangs into the water while the thermostat remains above water. mechanical filters help to clear out larger particulate matter from the aquarium. the more heat it will generate.An average aquarium requires 8 to 10 hours of light a day. these filters will get clogged and will need to be cleaned. Thus. In this case. The size of the debris that can be trapped and the time required to filter out the water depends on the quality and the density of the material used. Larger aquariums need more heat than smaller ones as there is more water to heat.com 11 . and required if you keep tropical fish. Fully submersible heaters are fixed to the back wall of the aquarium. there are 3 types of water filtration: mechanical filtration. as well as on the power of the pump head. The heater will help you to control the temperature in which the fish live. In the course of time. the temperature of the water will drop fast. Even the hardiest of fishes cannot tolerate steep fluctuations in water temperature and will eventually die if they are submitted to such changes. one has to be very careful while taking the readings.

Foam fractionators pass a large stream of bubbles through a column of water. Chemical filtration is also very good to remove medicine lingering in the water after successfully curing a disease in your aquarium. Fish normally give out ammonia from their gills and in their feces. water is passed through Activated Carbon or a natural mineral called Zeolite. Passing ozone and ultraviolet light through aquarium water are also effective to kill bacteria.. None of these methods can be recommended to the beginner aquarist as they are expensive and there usefulness unverified. But. This ammonia is toxic for fish. One place where such biological filtration takes places is in the filter of your mechanical filter and it is therefore very important not to clean this filter in hot water or using any type of detergent.Biological filtration Biological filtration uses bacteria that live on gravel. Activated Carbons are used primarily to make water clear and remove potentially harmful chemical substances.Other types of filtration There are also some additional kinds of filters. others say that ozone and ultraviolet rays do nothing for the aquaria. While some swear by these methods. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. . algae and parasites. This is the most effective kind of filtration for reducing toxic wastes. you must take the size of your aquarium into account and use a combination of the filtration methods described above. Chemical filtration is most useful for removing particles that have got dissolved in the water and substances that are too small to be removed through mechanical filters. glass surfaces etc to brake down harmful substances in the water. these are methods that have got different levels of endorsements from aquarists. . but it will also propagate undesired algae growth. and the Nitrite is then subsequently turned into Nitrate by another type of bacteria. Many substances will stick to the foam that collects at the top. as long as you don’t kill the bacteria by vigorous cleaning or the use of chemicals. Usually. Biological filtration will take place in a healthy aquarium without you having to worry about it. It will remove color and odor producing substances. Ammonia is turned into Nitrite by one type of bacteria. it helps to clear the yellow color that develops in aquarium water over a period of time.com 12 . and can thus be removed. but Nitrite is much more damaging than Nitrate. For effective filtration. In a natural environment.Chemical filtration In chemical filtration. Both Nitrate and Nitrate can harm your fish. Clean it cautiously with room temperature water to allow at least some bacteria to survive in the filter material and start the biological filtration again as soon as you put the filter back in the aquarium. Fish waste products can propagate plant growth in your aquarium.

Also. Changing the paint once you get tired of it is typically more cumbersome than simply changing a poster backdrop. and can be changed as often as you wish. but also add to the beauty of the aquarium.Air Pumps Air bubbles that rise to the surface of the aquarium not only help to detoxify and aerate your aquarium. Another inexpensive and easy solution is to use colored cardboards as your backdrop. Make sure that no paint is spilled into the inside of the aquarium since any traces of paint in the water after the fish come in can be deadly to them. and add to the oxygen levels in the water which prevent low oxygen levels which can be harmful to your fish. Substrates help in anchoring plants and decorations to the bottom. besides your fish well being. and the more natural their environment look. They are an excellent buys if you are happy with the look of these. They are not very hard to make. This is not only a form of beautiful aquarium decoration. Some types of substrates will for instance help to buffer your water and maintain the right pH in your aquarium. Many of the shy fish feel 'exposed' from all sides. Your choice is limited only by the amount of money you are willing to spend and the fish species that you keep. if you do not spread the paint evenly. and act as catalysts for organic Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Substrate refers to the material that you use at the bottom of your aquarium. aid in the filtration process. This makes the fish feel more secure and makes your aquarium look better. but this has to be done carefully. These thousands of bubbles move toxins and waste from the substrate to the surface where they dissipate. If you use under gravel filtration. You do not want wires and tubes peeking from all corners. it will also serve several purposes in your aquarium. light coming in from the back will show up the bad patches. There are some aquarists who advocate putting in little or no substrate at all. if there is nothing covering them from behind. Decorations When setting up your aquarium. It is therefore nice to have some sort of scenery at the back of the aquarium. They aerate the water. The primary focus when you decorate your aquarium. air pumps will aid these filters to work normally.com 13 . like sand. while other can’t imagine an aquarium without it. The décor should be used to hide the equipment that you are using within the aquarium. There are several commercial backdrops that simulate water. There are also more expensive backgrounds that you put inside the aquarium and that simulate real biotopes in a more realistic way. Your fish will give you hours of viewing pleasure. The substrate has complex physical. There are various kinds of suitable and aquarium safe decorations available. These are stunning but can unfortunate be rather expensive. so that your aquarium takes on a more natural look. it is definitely recommended to add decorations. pebbles etc. plants etc. chemical and biological significance and helps keep your aquarium balanced. Painting the glass with your favorite shade is a widely used option. is to keep all unsightly equipment well hidden. the greater your pleasure will be since they will display a much wider range of natural behaviors.

Sand can also clog the filters. since this will help them to establish their root system. A 2-4 inches / 5-10 centimeter thick layer of substrate is recommended for plants. When under gravel filtration is used. Many species need small nooks and crannies to hide from larger fish and to breed. Silver sand is the most commonly available type of sand. Beach sand has large deposits of salt that cannot be totally washed off.processes within the aquarium. the gravel size should provide for free flow of water. which can be a problem if you want to keep South American fish from acidic waters. Planted aquariums will typically need more substrate than ones without plants. These substances may dissolve slowly into the water thus gradually altering its pH balance. it is easy to calculate the volume of substrate that needs to go in. It is best to use non-coated natural color gravel as substrate in your first aquarium. Though it is cheap. Some gravel effect the water values and may make it impossible to keep the water conditions your intended fish want. you can of course choose sand and spend a little more time cleaning your aquarium. but may alter the pH balance of your aquarium. Care should be taken while selecting the size of the gravel or pebbles. Sand particles being small. Once you calculate the area of your aquarium. Beach sand may also have lots of pollutants that cannot be treated properly. but can function very well and are kept by many aquarist all over the world. but is also about 5 times costlier. How much substrate should you put in? The amount of substrate you will need depends upon the size of your aquarium and the set up. Some fish Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. But. Secondly. limestone and marbles should not be used in a tropical aquarium if you are a beginner aquarist striving to keep the water chemistry stable. As mentioned earlier. and pack away large amounts of waste and debris. Take the kind of aquarium and fish you want to keep into consideration when you choose the gravel for your aquarium. reduces water flow and aeration. Certain substances like seashells. a decorated aquarium LOOKS great. There are however a lot of aquatic plants that can grow even without a substrate. especially not for beginners. it also helps the fish in various ways. Beach sand is not a safe option for your tropical aquarium. These look good. it packs more and can therefore be difficult to clean. Simply multiply the area of your aquarium with the desired height for your substrate. Marine sand comes from corals or seashells that have been crushed. Firstly. An example of this is that gravel containing chalk will raise the pH level. Aquariums without vegetation of one kind or another are not as common as planted aquariums. Sand is therefore not a recommended aquarium decoration. Sand is very tightly packed and can make cleaning up rather tiresome. Aquarium sand is slightly larger than silver sand. using sand at the bottom of your aquarium is generally not recommended. if you simply love to see sand in your aquarium.com 14 . Decorating your aquarium beautifully is an essential part of setting it up.

Rich vegetation is a safety barrier that will keep toxicity lower. Using this method does however require extensive knowledge about the relevant biology and chemistry and other methods are easier for most beginner aquarists. many aquarists go in for fake plants. In some aquariums it is however impossible to keep real plants. and then gradually add the rest of the fish over a longer period of time. Familiar rock formations. Aquatic plants can be both floating and fixed. The level of carbon dioxide in the water should be just right when you put in the fish. each supplying what the other needs in a good environment. In addition to their visual appeal and their capacity to produce oxygen. breeding ground and food for some of the fish. Plants give out oxygen during photosynthesis. It is a good idea to put in algae eaters first. and will never decay or die. Of course. Real plants will also help reduce the growth rate in algae something that plastic plants don’t.g. plants also provide shade. As the fish in your aquarium increases. Plants A lot of aquarists love the sight of lush vegetation swaying gently in a clear aquarium full of healthy fish. Algae can therefore be a large problem in aquariums using plastic plants. They coexist so well because each complements the other. Some aquarists use a method where they put in plants – a lot of plants – in the aquarium before they introduce the fish. They have a base that will make them stick easily to the bottom of the aquarium and they will look perfect and healthy at all times. Plants are also a nesting place for many microorganisms that are vital for the proper and balanced functioning of an aquarium. By using this method. In turn. If you keep fish species that continuously uproot and disturb the plants. It is better to have a fair share of the fixed type in your first aquarium rather than going for the floating variety. they eliminate the need for normal cycling of the aquarium (cycling is explained a little later in this book).com 15 . e. While they look very pretty. these plants have numerous advantages. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. plants use up the nitrogenous waste released by the fish for their own growth. floating plants can collect debris in and around them. you must for instance closely monitor the carbon dioxide levels in the aquarium. "Natural Aquarium" often refers to an aquarium that has a wellmaintained balance between lush plants and healthy fish. Plants and fish are the two main inhabitants of most aquariums. the nitrogenous compounds also increase. They are easy to clean. do not need any trimming. plants etc provide these with boundaries and landmarks which they can use territorial borders. and are more difficult to clean out. If you wish to use this method. For decorative purposes alone. floating vegetation can however be the only feasible option if you want to keep real plants. Artificial plants can however look very fake. a home. The oxygen released gets dissolved in the water and is used up by the fish. especially if you choose some of the cheaper alternatives. aquariums with plant eating fish species.are also very territorial.

nitrates and hardness. and investing in a nitrite test kit can actually save you a lot of money since you will be able to rescue your fish before they all die from nitrite poisoning. the beneficial bacteria that help in detoxifying natural wastes have not yet fully developed. having too small a filter for the load of fish in your aquarium. Before you buy fish. and should ideally be purchased together with the ammonia before you set up your aquarium. The kind of fish you buy will depend on the pH of the water. Increased levels of nitrate are dangerous for the fish and even established aquariums can have high levels of nitrates. Biological filters can also stop working later due to many reasons and this will typically cause a peak in the ammonia levels. nitrites. Awareness of this will be helpful when you bring the fish home. Many fish species have special requirements when it comes to pH-values and may not be able to thrive in your tap water even if you give them time to adjust to the new pH-value. nitrate levels peak since nitrate is the end product. Common indicators of to high nitrate levels are an oily shimmer at the surface of the aquarium and fish chipping for air on the surface.testing the nitrogen cycle. If the nitrate levels are too high.Water test kit A water test kit is a MUST for any serious aquarist. This will help to keep the pH-value under control. If the problem persists. The nitrite test kit is used for the same purpose as the ammonia test kit in its initial phase . is the most dangerous period. This kit is not as essential to the beginner aquarist as the ammonia test kit. when the fish have been just introduced into the aquarium. A peak in the ammonia levels can for instance be caused by a dirty filter filled with debris.com 16 . The break in period. Test kits capable of measuring the levels of ammonia. It is also important to test the water for ammonia. It will however make it easier for you to know what’s going on in your aquarium. You must either change the pH-value in the aquarium to suit the fish or choose fish species that will appreciate the natural pH-value of your tap water. not nitrate and nitrite. A simple ammonia test kit is usually the first kit purchased by aquarists. Before they reach you. you must naturally try to determine the cause behind the high levels of nitrate. At this time. The next important kit is the pH test kit. At the end of the nitrogen cycle. There are numerous test kits available. This type of test kit will allow you to observe the progress of the nitrogen cycle even though it is only measuring ammonia. some more basic than others. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. The nitrate kit is more important than the nitrite test kit. you will need to check out the pH of your water. or adding medicines that kills the beneficial bacteria. Increasing the aeration of the water is also beneficial. the fish may have been living in water that has a different pH than the pH in your aquarium and you will have to let such fish get time to adapt to the new values. you should immediately do one or several water changes. nitrate and nitrite and the pH-value will often be enough for the beginner aquarist.

Then wash all the décor thoroughly and individually. follow this up IMMEDIATELY with a rinse in warm/hot water. The first step while setting up your aquarium is to test for leaks. Stir the gravel around and keep changing water until it runs clear. They base their results on color changes in the sample of water being tested. Rinse in fresh water. This may seem to be a waste of time if you feel that you have already checked your aquarium thoroughly. should first be treated before they are used. like rocks or driftwood. Some items will emit unsuitable compounds regardless of how many times you soak them in bleach. and that there is no shaking. Keeping a layer of specialist matting between the aquarium and what it stands on is a good idea. Begin with the gravel or sand. Frequently. It his however recommendable that you buy all your decoration at a reputable aquarium shop if this is you first aquarium as it can be hard to know what is suitable for use in your aquarium and what’s not. a water change is the most effective way to change the undesirable results in a water test. When you set up the aquarium. make sure that you have a water conditioner that removes chlorine. Soak them first in a mixture of chlorine bleach and water. Wash half a bucket of sand or gravel under running water.Most kits are very easy to use. Leaks will however be very annoying and much more difficult to plug after your aquarium is Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Remember to RINSE THOROUGHLY and than rinse again and again. you will need to give it a thorough clean up. Do not use anything other than water and make sure that the bucket that you use has not been used to hold detergent solutions of any kind. But. dust or contaminants. Soak them again in fresh water and dry thoroughly. If you intend to use under gravel filtration. The next step is to wash ALL the things that will go into your aquarium. you might have to soak it for a few weeks before you use it. This can prevent undesirable elements like snails. Some bogwoods immediately sink while other has to be water drenched before sinking. In many countries chlorine is added to tap water in order to kill off micro organisms. Setting up the aquarium Before you can actually start filling up your aquarium. If you are using bogwood to decorate your aquarium. This will remove all traces of the detergent from the glass surface. Any natural materials found in ponds. make sure that the spot that you have choose have a completely flat floor. parasites and other malevolent organisms from getting into your aquarium. you must wash the plates before adding them to the aquarium.com 17 . Using a very small amount of dish washing liquid along with warm water to clean your aquarium is ideal. Even a slight residue will harm your fish. Before you start filling the aquarium. This will help to remove any traces of dirt. Certain additives help to counter specific problems. This will help to reduce any unevenness.

You should also put in any decorative material at this stage. pump the water out. it is very important to wash each of these items before you place them in the aquarium. stapled to decorations or plugged to the bottom. add the gravel into the aquarium. it will be easier to attach the plants to the substrate. The higher area should be towards the back. The heater should be placed in an area where water circulation is the maximum. it is a good idea to let your water stabilize for a few days before you add natural plants since this will be healthier for the plants. They will start developing roots in about 3-4 days. In case your aquarium looks a bit cloudy and the particles have moved. and wait for half a day. Plants that are not healthy will add to the debris and waste in your aquarium. If time is not a factor. As mentioned earlier. Care should be taken to keep the plants in areas that get good oxygen supply. Good sturdy plants like Java Moss and Water Sprite are therefore best for a beginner. Fill half the aquarium with water by pouring the water on to a plate that you put on the bottom of the aquarium to prevent disturbing the gravel. do not simply go for the prettiest and most exotic plants. plastic plants etc can be put in and arranged more easily now than when the aquarium is completely filled. if you are using one. Rock formations. It is now time to install the thermometer. crevices or other forms of hiding spots where the fish can feel safe. You should however wait until later before you plug them in. see that you slope the gravel from back to front. So. Colorful plants are nice to look at. Underwater gravel filter along with its plates need to be put in before the gravel if you intend to use an under gravel filter. Once the roots have come out. heater and filter. This will give the front part a better view. Both Water Sprite and Java Moss can be left loose on the top. and rinse the aquarium. At this stage. Gravel should be put in slowly to a height of 1-3 inches. Remember to fix these materials in the substrate material so that they do not topple or float away later. you should only safely attach the equipment at suitable spots in the aquarium. A lot of fish species will appreciate if you create caves. allow the water to 'rest' for a day or two until most of the debris has gently subsided to the bottom again. You may want to put in your live plants now too. While choosing plants. It is also a good idea to direct the water flow to the sides of the aquarium. Plants should be gently stuck into the substrate.com 18 . One trick that comes in handy is to leave the plants floating in the water for a few days. If there are no stains or indications of leaks. Place some heavier stones around plants that Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. If this is done slowly and carefully. While putting the gravel in.fully functional. fill up your aquarium with tap water. Then. your aquarium will be clear from the very beginning. Many aquatic plant species will not survive long even in controlled conditions and are only suitable for experts. One such beautiful but sensitive plant is the popular Rotala macranda. depending upon the under gravel filtration. This will maintain an equal temperature in all parts of your aquarium. Position the decorations in such a way that your tubes and other accessories are well hidden behind them and in such a way that you find it ecstatically pleasing. but they will usually require very strong lighting to survive.

Sufficient and proper aeration comes next.com 19 . Anti-siphon valves are also easily available. The motor should not run dry and will get damaged if it does. Don’t leave plants floating on the surface to long as they will grow very strangely. where 14 is the most alkaline. the air pump should preferably be placed higher than the water level. Fresh water fish can Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. After plugging it in. if you are using such appliances. The pH ranges from 0-14. As discussed earlier. the aquarium lights will light up the side of the plant. The water temperature will also affect a wide range of biological and chemical processes in your aquarium. Most tropical fish flourish and thrive in warmer waters. Growing sideways is unattractive in most plants. you should never turn off the filter ones it’s on. The pH-value is a way of measuring the alkalinity or acidity of a solution. Once the plants are in place and you checked that you didn’t forget to add anything else it’s time to fill the aquarium full with water. the pH and the levels of constituents in the water. There are basically three very important aspects to the water in your aquarium: the temperature. Water chemistry Since fish spend their entire life in water. Next. Read all the instructions in your operator's manual since these can vary between different heaters. Turning on and turning off the filter constantly will cause unnecessary wear and tear to the filter and more importantly will cause toxins to build in the filter which are released into the water when the filter are started again. Before you plug it on. water is the most important thing about an aquarium. make sure that the thermometer is placed where it is easy to read. When using air tubing for decoration. and 0 is the most acidic. you can turn on the power filtration or mechanical filtration. Together. So. except when you clean it. In short.otherwise tend to float away. you will need to start the heater. the risk of water back siphoning into the tubes are high. having thermostatically controlled heaters are a must if keeping tropical fish. An easy to use thermometer is also very handy. especially if they are placed lower than the water in the aquarium. these will help you to keep a constant check on the water temperature. Understanding water and its constituents will greatly help to maintain a good aquarium. Never shut it off except for shorter periods for maintenance. If you are using more than one air stone. set up the filter so that the flow of water is concentrated to the center of the aquarium. Though these fish are resilient enough to withstand a wide range of temperatures. and when the plant is later turned vertical and planted it will look very uneven. the water temperature and the heater needs to be closely monitored for a day. When plants are floating. Allow the heater to stay in water for half an hour before you turn it on. a gang valve that has multiple outlets is very handy. The air pump should have enough power to supply air to the multiple items. allow it to run for a day. Once you have filled your aquarium to its optimum capacity. Once you turn the heater on. It will also damage the biological filtration in the aquarium. After reading the instructions properly. it is seen that warmer temperatures are best for tropical fish.

Excessively soft water can cause problems in your tropical aquarium. Gaseous oxygen is absorbed by water. Nitrites and Nitrates are some of the important elements present in your water. but most fish species are more resilient towards Nitrate than towards Ammonia and Nitrite. Ammonia is produced by the fish metabolism and excreted via the gills in and the fish feces. Ammonia is highly toxic and will kill fish if the levels get to high. Plants within the aquarium give off oxygen during photosynthesis. Dissolved oxygen.live in a wide range of pH but the optimum pH values are for many popular beginner species a slightly acidic to a neutral value. Never allow debris and fish waste to collect in your aquarium. Never lay off changing water partially. Never overfeed your fish. Unhealthy and decaying plants will even increase the demand for oxygen in the aquarium. Nitrates are another nitrogen-compound and Nitrate is produces when Nitrite is broken down by another type of bacteria. Carbon dioxide. Water hardness is another factor of importance. But beware as the pH of the water will change too. High levels of Nitrates are also toxic for fish. you should be able to get by without manipulating the hardness of the water.5-7. Exposure to too much Nitrite can for instance make the fish anemic and eventually kill it.com 20 . not in aquariums with large fish populations. invertebrates and fish – use up the dissolved oxygen quickly it is necessary to keep your aquarium well aerated. 6. Ammonia can also be produced in your aquarium when plant material is broken down. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. You should strive to keep the levels of Ammonia and Nitrite at zero. Adding crushed coral to extra soft water will increase its hardness. Water hardness refers to the amount of dissolved minerals in your water. Since all the organisms in the aquarium – including microorganisms. Nitrites are also dangerous to fish and unhealthy in too large quantities. Nitrites are formed in the aquarium when the Ammonia gets broken down by bacteria. vacuuming off fish wastes and removing any rotting plant material will also help to increase the oxygen levels. Regular water changes. Taking some easy precautions can do this. Plants alone will not always provide enough oxygen especially. Never overstock your aquarium. but this oxygen is also used up quickly. In most cases. Ammonia.5. A simple and basic aeration or filtration system is usually more than enough to give plenty of oxygen to your aquarium. They are decisive factors in the health of the aquatic life within your aquarium. especially calcium and magnesium. Just like fish and other animals in the aquarium. Turbulence at the surface of the water increases the absorption of oxygen. plants need oxygen for respiration and will consume a part of the oxygen that they produce. The life in the aquarium depends on dissolved oxygen in the water. but low levels of Nitrates will always be present in the aquarium and your task will be to keep Nitrate under control rather then to eliminate it completely.

Before attempting to change the pH. Changing the pH values will also change the toxicity of nitrite and ammonia. A pH of 6. These will harm the fish.9 is an acceptable range for a wide variety of fish. the salt in the water remains the same. Using activated carbons is another way of getting rid of the chlorine. Neutral pH is 7. One more reason to research the species you intend to buy is to help you decide on the pH value of your water. Adding aquarium salt or kosher salt is also recommended if you are going to keep fish that tolerate salt as it reduce the risk for disease in your aquarium. This can be achieved by filtering the water for 24 hours.com 21 . and the pH of the water will also stabilize. you need to assess if you really have to change the existing pH for the fish to survive and thrive. the plants and other microorganisms that need to grow in the aquarium. When adding the water preparation chemical it is important that you follow the dosing instructions carefully. Some tropical fish do not tolerate salt in the water and you should therefore research if the types of fish you intend to keep in your aquarium tolerate salt or not. only the salt that has been removed should be replaced. Your geographical location influences the pH value of the water. Knowing the pH value of your tap water is a definite advantage. Sodium thiosulfate also helps in getting rid of traces of ammonia. The most important thing to keep in mind while adding salt is the concentration of salt in water.Conditioning water You should NEVER add the fish immediately after filling your aquarium. Even if you have researched the optimum pH for your favorite fish. Usually. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. If your fish species tolerate salt. there are certain things to be considered. So. There are three basic methods to dechlorinate water. Lastly. Salt does not evaporate. Any dissolved gases in the water will escape in a few days. A STABLE pH is more important than reaching exact values. they are used to a pH level that might be different from the pH levels that are natural for them. Thus the water needs to be neutralized first. the fish you have are bought from an aquarium. Allow the water time to stabilize. Aeration of water will diffuse chlorine into the air. As evaporation takes place.0. adding sodium thiosulfate to water instantly inactivates chlorine.4 to 7. tropical fish can survive in a wide range of pH. while changing water. Some species will however only tolerate lower concentrations of salt. The water will have some amounts of toxins in it from chemical treatments etc and this can be very harmful for the fish. So. Tap water is not the natural habitat of fish. Mostly. Tap water usually contains high amounts of chlorine and other disinfectants. 1 tablespoon of salt for every 5 gallons/ 20 L of water is usually a good rule of thumb.

These are ideal for the growth of bacteria. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. and are relatively unmoved are also good breeding grounds for the nitrifying bacteria. Fortunately. Your aquarium can never be a perfectly balanced ecosystem. which escapes into the air. If you do not perform frequent water changes. as nitrites get converted. A good nitrifying bacterial colony goes a long way in ensuring the health of your aquarium. This is where the NITROGEN CYCLE comes in. It is however impossible to get rid of all the fish waste by simply letting nitrogen gas evaporate. The water is new. The key here is to minimize the undesirable organisms while boosting the colony of desirable and helpful bacteria. there are vast colonies of these bacteria. You are for instance adding new organic compounds to the system every time you feed your fish. The second half of the nitrogen cycle converts the nitrites into nitrates which are relatively harmless through a process called denitrifying. If ammonia can be detected by your test-kit. Lesser sunlight means less heat and less light. there is also a class of organisms that work in tandem to decompose this waste and to make it beneficial for the habitat. Nitrogenous waste products in your aquarium will first break down into ammonia. The initial period when this bacterium is being coaxed to multiply is known as cycling the aquarium. nitrates start building up. algae and plants. Nitrogen based substances are the most frequent byproducts of decomposition. Slowly.nitrate.Cycling There is one more step that needs to be completed before you can add the fish and this step probably the most crucial of them all.com 22 . This is then converted into nitrogen gas. In the first few weeks. Understanding this basic but sometimes overlooked fact and doing your best to aid this process will make your aquarium a definite success. Ammonia can be very toxic for fish. but when you first set up your aquarium this type of bacteria is only minimal in your water. There are other microorganisms living in this water beside the fish. All the living organisms in your aquarium will produce waste that can become toxic. you have to induce this bacterial colony to multiply and reach an optimum level. then the levels are too high for your fish. The Nitrogen cycle refers to the process in which this decomposition takes place. This is however only the first half of the nitrogen cycle. An aquarium that is just a few weeks or days old is at its most fragile. Certain conditions are optimal for the growth of the nitrifying bacteria. Why probe into the details when you know that the waste that will be produced will also be efficiently decomposed? Well. microorganisms in the water may be beneficial or toxic. Nitrifying bacteria are the microscopic organisms that aid the nitrogen cycle and convert harmful ammonia to a more harmless form . In nature. They grow well in areas that have a rich supply of oxygen. The water in which the fish live is a whole new ecosystem in itself. Portions of the aquarium that are not disturbed by currents. since the ecosystem in an aquarium is an artificial one that you have created it can sometimes require your assistance. the levels of nitrate will sooner or later become high enough to seriously harm your fish and eventually kill it.

but some combinations are not to be recommended. Other methods include adding a pinch of flake food. This process may take 2-6 weeks. Use your test kit to follow the ups and downs of the nitrogen cycle. The ammonia levels should be non-detectable before adding fish. to the aquarium will introduce the necessary nitrites into the water.The nitrogen cycle begins when the aquarium is provided with a little bit of ammonia. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Fish that are beautiful and interesting. The type of fish you choose is a purely personal decision. DO NOT purchase too much fish at once and put them into the water. Do not over-feed the fish. adding a sliver of fish or shrimp to the water.g. One great way to do this is to add natural plants. Adding no more than one or two hardy and inexpensive fish. because this will lead to the production of more ammonia than the yet fragile balance can handle. but still easy to care for and feed is an excellent choice for the beginner. because feeder fish is sometimes unhealthy and may introduce diseases into your aquarium. Zebra Danios. we come to the most exciting and much awaited part of the hobby. You should never add fish if the ammonia or nitrates level still are high in the aquarium. the concentration of these undesirable elements will increase beyond the tolerance level of your fish and your fish might die. Keeping a large number of fish with similar demands and behavior will lead to an aquarium where the fish thrive in their new home. e. It is however usually ok to start adding fish after 1-2 weeks since the bacteria colonies then has grow to a large enough size to support fish as long as the fish are sparsely fed. Select fish that are used to the kind of water that you can provide. The speed in which the cycle completes will depend upon the temperature in your aquarium. Another very popular means of starting off the cycling process is using 'cycling fish'. In the cycle. when you put in new fish. but for a beginner a few hardy fish species is the best choice to start with.com 23 . you are introducing a whole batch of ammonia and bacteria into the water. Using some gravel or water from another aquarium is also a good way to kick starting the cycle since gravel or water from an established aquarium will be filled with the two necessary types of bacteria. Care must be taken to ensure that there is no infection in the water. Different species of fish will flourish in different conditions. If this is not done slowly and in stages. The leaves falling off from these plants supply the first doses of nitrogen. As you know. Introducing a lot of fish will strain the habitat and topple the balance of the environment within the aquarium. remember that the nitrite levels will first go up and then fall to zero. Adding Fish Now. You also have to be aware of the species of fish and their compatibility with other fish before you decide what types of fish you should include. Commercial products containing nitrifying bacteria are available in many pet shops and can be used to speed up the process. Having a wide variety of colorful fish is visually very appealing. Using feeder fish as cycling fish is generally not recommend.

While bringing the fish home. If you keep very aggressive and territorial species. If you already have some fish in the aquarium. but such species are not recommended for beginners and thus beyond the scope of this e-book. they need enough room above and below their fins. Avoid using your hands while transferring fish. While stocking your aquarium. It is also a good idea to turn off the light in the aquarium while adding new fish. float the bag in your aquarium for a minimum of 15 minutes. Net them out gently into the aquarium. but this rule is very general and frequently unadvisable to follow. This will reduce the stress and shock that your new fish will be subjected to.com 24 . Transfer the fish one by one. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. This will allow the temperature within the bag to equalize with the temperature in the aquarium. Taller fish needs more vertical space. Putting more fish in a smaller aquarium will also increase the debris in your aquarium. Some fishes become aggressive when they are packed together into a small space. While they swim. It may contain diseases. NEVER put the water that you brought from the store in your aquarium. It is necessary to plan your trip to the pet shop in advance. Territorial fish require more space and boundaries.There are many ways to add fish into your water. How many fish do you begin with and how many can you add at once? The rule of thumb regarding the number of fish is: "One inch of fish per gallon of water". The existing fish in the aquarium will not see the new ones arrive. thus poisoning the entire habitat. As soon as you get home. Room for swimming and other activities like schooling or other common behavior patterns in your particular fish species. This will keep your new batch safe from the curiosity of the existing fish. you have to take the needs of your particular fish into consideration. parasites or other unwanted passengers such as undesirable bacteria and snails. care should be taken to only have a few fish in each bag. and in a large bag. Too many fish in a bag will cause the ammonia level in the water to rise and the oxygen level to drop. and will therefore leave them alone. Aggression due to lack of space is one of the common reasons why many fish die after a few days in captivity. Avoid putting in all the fish at once. There are certain things you have to avoid while transferring the fish into your aquarium. You should thereafter add about a cup of water from your aquarium into the bag and wait another 15 minutes. you will have to use other methods when you introduce new fish. and leave a gap of 15 to 20 minutes before adding each fish. If you put a fast swimming schooling fish in a small aquarium. sharp temperature fluctuations in this water are quite possible and you should avoid exposing the bag to heat or cold. Since you will be bringing the fish in a smaller bag. it will never be able to swim freely. Try to bring the fish home as quickly as possible. feed these well before you start the transfer. Repeat this last procedure 4-5 times before releasing the fish.

Fish compatibility is a matter of great importance while selecting fish. Not all types of fish mingle well. Being able to predict what species will do well together comes from research or experience. Every school of fish has a certain natural pecking order. The dominant male, followed by the dominant female typically take up the center of this order. When you add a new fish, this pecking order completely changes. The fish that are already in the aquarium have established behavior patterns and the new member has to adapt and find a niche for itself. Meanwhile, if it is a perceived threat to the order, the others in the school may harm it. This is a bigger problem for some fish than for others but it is best to avoid it for all species. You should therefore always try to buy the entire school you want at once. You should also try to avoid unnecessary aggression and territorial disputes. For instance, putting two male Gouramis into the same small aquarium will give rise to unnecessary competition among them. Adding a second male to an aquarium that already contains a male can have even worse consequences since the first male has already claimed the aquarium as his territory. The established male will attack the new comer viciously if it enters his swimming space. The newcomer has no place to swim or hide. Things might get worse, and you may lose either or both the fish. All this can be avoided if you do a little bit of research before you stock your aquarium. Try to buy all the fish you want of one species at once. Fish, like any other pet, need care and devotion. You need to keep the conditions in your aquarium just right for the fish to thrive and be happy. Healthy fish can be spotted easily. They swim briskly, eat well and generally look sturdy. Every aquarist dreams of having a well stocked aquarium and a flourishing ecosystem. Some care taken at the early stages will help you to achieve this easily. Doing the following things regularly will help you to keep your aquarium healthy and happy: The aquarium has to be checked daily to make sure that there are no dead fish lying around. Remove any dead fish immediately. Remember, dead fish will spread infection and is a breeding ground for bacteria. Dead plant material is less dangerous than dead fish, but will also affect the water quality and should be removed as soon as you notice it. On a weekly basis, clean out the plants and decorations in your aquarium. Trim the plants and cut away any decaying parts. Scrape away the algae forming inside the glass. Always make sure that your filters are working smoothly. Changing the water partially every 1-2 weeks will also greatly reduce the debris and algae collection in the water. This can be done by gently siphoning the water from near the gravel. This is where the most debris collects.

Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.com

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Check for symptoms of stress in your fish. Once found, the conditions that are causing the stress must be determined and changed as soon as possible.

Stress in your aquarium
Fish are subjected to stress due to various reasons. Stress weakens the fish and causes the fish’s immunity to be greatly reduced, thereby making it susceptible to diseases. Stress also leads to decrease in feeding. Breeding is almost non-existent in fish that show symptoms of stress. Eventually, over stressed fish become ill and die. Thus it is best to know the reasons of stress in your aquarium. Stress is frequently species dependent. Some species thrive in an environment that may weaken others. For example, if you have hard tap water, you need to purchase fish that thrive in such conditions or alter the water conditions before you introduce your fish to the aquarium. An unsuitable or unstable pH-value is also a common cause for stress in aquariums. Some fish are very sensitive to changes in pH, while others are not too susceptible to this. Always research your particular fish species in order to find out their preferred pH-value and the span which they will tolerate. Find out the pH-value of the water that the fish is currently living in before you purchase them and introduce them to their new home, since fish unlike rapid changes. As mentioned earlier in this book, increased levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrates also lead to stress and you will need a test kit in order to monitor these levels. We have already discussed the different actions that will help you to keep these levels down, such as using several types of filtration, performing frequent water changes, choosing an aquarium that is large enough and never over-feeding your fish. Salt can also lead to stress. Some fish species have zero tolerance for salt. As a general rule, fish that have no scales or very small scales will not tolerate salt water. Add salt to your water only if ALL the fish species in it can tolerate salt. Some fish species will become more prone to illness in an aquarium with no salt, even though they are not marine species. Fish species living in brackish waters will usually stay healthier in a slightly brackish aquarium, even if they are capable of tolerating freshwater. An unsuitable water temperature or temperature fluctuations can easily lead to stress in an aquarium. Some fish are comfortable in cooler temperatures, while others require tropical temperatures. Care must be taken while mixing up species, so that they all have a general tolerance for the same temperature. The goldfish is one example of a fish capable of surviving in cool temperatures, while a lot of the common beginner species – Guppy, Molly, Tetra etc – prefer much warmer temperatures. A daily thermometer reading will keep the temperature stable and well under control. Physical space or the lack thereof is another factor that leads to stress. Even normally peaceful fish species can become extremely territorial when they have to fight for space. Also, putting in different varieties of territorial fish with similar behaviors is like asking

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for trouble in a small aquarium. Introducing competition in your aquarium by adding fish that cannot cohabit will lead to stress; and frequently death due to direct injuries or due to illnesses brought on by the stress. Also keep in mind that the onset of the breeding period triggers a number of changes in the fish's behavioral pattern. Some fish chase stakes out breeding territories at this time and chase away any intruders. What are the symptoms of stress in fish? From the very beginning, you will need to observe the patterns of behavior of each species in your aquarium. After a few days, you will notice that each species has a behavior particular to it. Some fish keep swimming briskly, while others are happy staying almost stationery. Some like to be on the surface, while others linger near the bottom. Deviation from their normal behavior is the first indication of stress. Some fish start hovering near the surface al the time, indicating poor supply of oxygen. A stress fish can also stay away from its usual haunts and keeps itself hidden. Sometimes fish shows nicks or spots on their body that are not healing quickly. Prevention is definitely a better approach than waiting until the stress begin to manifest and then trying to cure the symptoms. So, being aware of the 'character' of your species before you bring them home and introduce them to your aquarium will help greatly in warding off stress. As soon as you notice any symptom, make sure to explore the cause and remove it at your earliest. Fish that falls sick and eventually dies harms not only itself, but also the entire aquarium. Infections can spread quickly and you may find your fish succumbing fast to these.

Water problems and their solutions
One of the most common problems in an aquarium is that the water becomes smelly, foamy or cloudy. Each of these conditions adds to stress among fish. This is an unhealthy sign. While setting up your aquarium, water may become cloudy when you disturb the gravel or sand at the bottom of the aquarium. As mentioned earlier, this can be avoided if water is put in properly. This problem will sort itself out in a day or two. If your water becomes cloudy or foamy after introducing the fish, bacteria is the most common cause. When an aquarium is not cleaned thoroughly or regularly enough, fish waste and other debris start collecting in the water. Even plants in your aquarium need to be trimmed regularly and their dead parts have to be removed to keep the aquarium balanced. Foamy or smelly water indicates that there is too much debris in your aquarium. Changing small amounts of water every day will help to resolve the problem. Weekly water exchanges will then ensure that debris levels remain low. This will also help to control the levels of soluble waste in your water. Dissolved wastes in the water will thus get removed and this will cause the bacteria to starve. Care must be taken not to change too much water each time as this may harm the fish.

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Excessive amounts of fish food can also make the water foamy. There is no need to give extra food to your fish, and any extra traces left at the top should be removed immediately. Check regularly whether your filters are working properly and clean the mechanical filter from debris and excess food.

Tropical fish aquarium problems
When you decide to keep a tropical fish aquarium, there are certain things that you absolutely must NOT do. Even a very dedicated aquarist can encounter a wide range of problems, especially during the start up period or when new fish is added that disrupt the balance. Being aware of some of the most common pitfalls will help you to avoid these mistakes and loss of precious life. One common mistake that many beginners make is assuming that a small aquarium is easier to care for than a larger one. The beginner should always go for a larger aquarium, and keep small aquariums later when he or she is more experienced. The reasons for this are quite obvious. Even though your aquarium is small, you will still have to pack in quite a number of things. Most beginner aquarists want to keep at least half a dozen fish, if not more. Even when keeping just one single fish, such as a goldfish in a goldfish bowl, a small aquarium gets filled up with debris surprisingly fast and fish easily use up the oxygen in small aquariums. Larger aquariums have larger volumes of water. This means more oxygen for the fish, more space, and comparatively less dissolved wastes. It is possible to get by with partial water changes less frequently when you use a larger aquarium. A larger aquarium will be less prone to rapid changes in temperature and water chemistry than a small aquarium, since there will be more water to preserve the temperature and dilute any pollutants. You also have to be extra careful when you select the kind of fish that will go into a small aquarium. Some fish need to school and can thrive only in groups. Some fish are territorial by nature and will harm any other fish that comes into its territory. Mixing different species, especially in a small space requires a lot of know-how. Adding too many fish too soon is another common mistake made by beginners. Always keep the Nitrogen Cycle in mind when you set up your aquarium. The microorganisms living in your water need time to develop. Only a rich culture of beneficial bacteria will keep your aquarium healthy for a long period of time. Once the cycling process is over, it is important to add only one or two fishes to start with and then to add all the fish you indeed to keep of a certain species at the same time. Always give the fish time to adjust slowly to their new environment, using the introduction method described earlier in this book. Over feeding is another trait of the over zealous beginner. Never over feed your fish. If you feed too much, the uneaten food gets deposited in the crannies of the aquarium or just float in the water. It will pollute the water and also consume oxygen when being decomposed. Uneaten food can therefore make the water cloudy and also lead to an

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It also a very inhuman process in which the due is applied. Usually. since this will throw away too much of the beneficial bacteria and cause your fish large amounts of stress due to changes in water chemistry and sometimes also temperature. there are certain measures that you have to take to keep your aquarium healthy and safe until you get back. Most people do not know how much to feed. Never give into the compulsion of giving your fish one last Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Feed your fish five or six days a week. this is due to shock from being moved and can kill even healthy fish. Though the fish you plan to buy look very brisk and healthy. They also do not run around your house and cause havoc littering the place. gasping for breath are not a good buy. Uneaten food will add to the toxicity of your aquarium and you will not be around to change the water. These are not natural fish. Always buy fish from a reputable pet store that remove sick fish to special quarantine aquariums. A pet shop that forces their fish to cohabit with dead fish or sick fish should also be avoided. when you plan to go on a vacation. If you find that your new fish topple over or cannot keep their balance in their new home. This changes only if you are rearing young stocks. Fish that shows spots. Getting this fish into your aquarium will transmit the infection and can have disastrous consequences.com 29 . Another common beginner mistake is to choose unhealthy fish. Never change the water just before you leave. That way. change about 15% of your water at least once a week. Fish that do not look very healthy at the store is a definite NO. It is therefore much better to change a small percentage of your water as frequently as possible. The neon colors are injected into the fish. sores or nicks should not be taken home. In this case you will need to give the fish small meals more frequently. But. since large water changes can be just as harmful as too small or too few water changes. A lot of the problems that you can encounter can be solved by frequent water changes. It is better not to rely on well meaning friends when you need your aquarium taken care of. but smaller and more frequent water changes are just as beneficial. Fish that float near the top. Change your water a few days before you leave. Vacation care for your fish Fish are the easiest pet to take care of because they do not need to be trained. they may be silent carriers the infection. Ideally. The dyes injected into these fish make them sick at a later stage. and will fade after some time. Do not change water fully.increase in the bacterial population of your water. one or two feedings per day is enough. It is important to find a good balance. and end up feeding more than what is needed. Changing 15% of the water once a week as is a good rule of thumb. Fish that are transparent with neon colors running along the sides should also be avoided. since it can be hard for the novice fish keeper to distinguish normal fish behavior from warning signs. Make sure to always introduce your fish slowly to avoid shock. you will be around till the fish get acclimatized to the new water. The amount of food you give your fish should be roughly dependent on their body weight.

Water is an excellent conductor of electricity and it is easy to get a nasty. Electricity is however not the only safety hazard connected to aquariums. electric shock if you do not follow the safety guidelines. Regularly check the equipment for any damages. The timing mechanism can be set so that the fish are feed on the times you decide. or even lethal. A power strip that has a circuit breaker built inside it is very safe. burns. Safety While dealing with electrical equipments you should always take steps to stay safe. A broken aquarium can for instance cause severe damages to your apartment. It will however often be cheaper to replace that part of the equipment with a new one. The cheapest way to feed your fish while you are away is Time-Release Blocks. It is important to set your thermostat to optimum temperature when you go away. get a qualified electrician to make the necessary repairs. leaks etc. Most probably. Most feeders are designed to feed granular food and flake food. the dominant fish will eat up this bar and the others will be kept away from the bar. Even if some of them appear to be a bit expensive. heaters etc work on electricity.extra feed. All wires that go into your aquarium should be UNPLUGGED when you do any work in your aquarium. In order to prevent aquarium related accidents. lights. These kinds of bars are however best suited for fish like Tetras that will eat almost anything with gusto. Adding in new fish a few days before you go is begging for trouble. It should also be noted that quite a few aquarists have hade bad experience with these blocks. A closed up home in a hot area can become an oven for the fish. It is therefore recommended to try the bars when you are still at home and can monitor your fish behavior and interfere. These are bars of food that slowly dissolve or are fed upon by the fish. Don’t forget to adjust the portion size so it suits your aquarium. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Another better but more expensive option is mechanical feeders. Do not rely on bars until you know that they are suitable for your particular aquarium. this last 'extra' meal will be uneaten and will later foul up the water. In an aquarium that has territorial fish. and the amount you decide. or one last live feed before you go. Postpone this till after you return. Any diseases that come in with the new fish will spread throughout your aquarium and you will not be there to treat your fish during the early stages. it is recommended that you go in only for equipment that has the necessary protection to be used in water. The various equipments used in your aquarium like filters. there are a few basic steps to keep in mind: Use materials that have been specifically made for aquariums.com 30 . Another precaution is to desist from adding new fish just before you go. Many people will return from vacations to find that their fish have 'boiled' to death. In case of any problems.

all make up a miniature seascape that is a joy to behold. As you go along. you will find alternate ways to look after your own aquarium. Your aquarium and its inhabitants carry a lot of debris and microscopic organisms that are not desirable. It is inevitable that a beginner will see at least a few of the fish floating dead in the aquarium. safety issues etcetera in order to prepare. It is also important to keep in mind that soap and other detergents will harm you fish. Fish.Mixing Ammonia with bleach will produce chlorine gas so never use bleach to clean anything in or from an operative aquarium. You should also check that your home insurance covers damages that can be caused by a broken or malfunctioning aquarium. Remember glass aquariums are quite heavy when you fill them up with water. especially when you work on it. Trial and error and experimentation are the keys to success and also one of the things that make fish keeping so fascinating year after year. you. Always remember that looking after any pet is a job that requires dedication. The aquarium is a dangerous combination for little children. There might be some pitfalls on the way but those shouldn’t deter you. Taking care of the life of your pet is a matter of great responsibility. Always wash your hands before and after working with the aquarium. not discourage. water and electricity makes it unsafe for small kids. Do not be disheartened when a few of your fish die. and invertebrates . plants. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Glass.com 31 . even in minute concentration. tips and procedures described above will guide you through the different stages when setting up your own aquarium. I have pointed out a lot of potential problems. You should therefore keep children a safe distance away from the aquarium. Check your aquarium for any signs of these before you start setting up your aquarium. Always rinse your hands well before putting them into your aquarium again after washing your hands with soap. Get a stand that can withstand the weight of your aquarium. An aquarium is a beautiful world in itself. The steps. Setting up an aquarium along the lines described above is not at all difficult. Most aquariums come with a warranty against cracking and leaking.

com 32 .Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.

Dead and decaying parts will need to be pruned and cut off regularly. Plants have some obvious advantages when it comes to looks as well as use. When the substrate becomes old. So. A planted aquarium with real plants generally needs more light than a fish-only aquarium. Oxygen. in your aquarium. when you can have equally beautiful artificial plants? After all. your plants will not be able to generate oxygen and can even begin to die and decay. Plastic plants tend to fall apart while cleaning. The plants provide a hiding place for the fish too. As described earlier in this e-book. Keeping real plants in your aquarium requires an equal amount of dedication as keeping live fish. A combination of fake and real plants can also be a good solution and give a more natural look to your aquarium. Real plants may also introduce snails and hydra into your water and they can be the transmitter of fish infections too. Well. Most viewers are stunned by the beauty of lush green plants that grow abundantly in water. fertilizers etc. This alone makes them desirable in your aquarium. Natural plants have some inherent negative aspects. And hopefully. why put in live plants at all. This will however vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and high quality plastic plants can still be a good choice. you will have to change it or fertilize it. Maintenance will be less because a large chunk of your plants will not need to be maintained. And they NEVER wither or die. Plants need to be maintained. Without sufficient lighting. here are some very valid reasons to go for live planting. the byproduct of photosynthesis. since fish do not rely on photosynthesis. That means you will have to go in for a particular combination of materials in your substrate. your fish will not develop a taste for it. you will find that many fish species are happier and more relaxed around plants. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. it is usually better to choose silk plants rather than plastic plants. nurtured and propagated. So. you can go in for fake plants. at least partially. Fake plants are of course much easier to keep. When you select fake plants. Adding plants is one of the better ways to make your aquarium look stunning.com 33 . live plants have a much more serious role to play in your aquarium than being mere decoration. is a necessary ingredient for any fish aquarium to thrive. If your fish love to nibble on the plants that you have decided to put in. Plants will also produce oxygen and use up the nitrogenous wastes that the fish give out. If you do not have that much of time for the aquarium just at the moment. Silk is easier to clean if you need to scrub out algae. Real plants require some particular kinds of nutrients. you will have a hard time keeping these plants alive. You should be aware of these before you decide whether you want to keep them in your aquarium.Chapter 2 – Plants Choosing plants for your aquarium Most hobbyists are quite naturally drawn to making their aquarium look as natural as possible. There are numerous gorgeous looking fake plants available in the stores. artificial plants are so much easier to look after and maintain.

the natural style is just that . with different kinds of plants growing on different layers. Introducing a variety of plants without any particular order is the most important thing in this style. there are some style statements that you should know about. but to achieve that striking display of 'wilderness' in your aquarium.com 34 . we strive to mime nature as closely as possible. and the fish seem to be added in as an afterthought. you would not find groups of similar plants sitting pretty in some order. since they live on the same substances as algae. Before you can make up your mind regarding the kinds of plants that will go into your aquarium. You will hardly find these kinds of aquariums with superbly colored fish. but excessive algae growth can be an aquarist's worst nightmare. Plants also help to keep your substrate in place. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Here. Unfavorable conditions within your aquarium will typically first affect the plants. This is especially important if you plan on breeding your fish. The aquarium is more for the plants. and this will warn you that the fish will soon be sick too. The aim is to cultivate a 'wild' look. The natural style: As the term suggests. Plants are a source of food for many species of fish. Plants are also a sure shot indicator of the health of your aquarium. They will also compete for nutrients. Small amounts of algae are a natural part of an aquarium. thus protecting your fish. Real plants inhibit the growth of algae by releasing certain chemicals. A quick overview of these styles and their usability will help you decide which way you want to go.in nature. but this is far from the truth. you need to sift through the various plant varieties. and pick and choose the right ones. The style tries to replicate a verdant garden. or if you want to think up something entirely different. The natural surroundings that the plants provide give the fish in captivity a sense of freedom and security. plants also keep a check on the nitrogen levels. There will just be a few colorless fish hanging about. The plants are the main focus of this display.In addition to keeping Carbon dioxide levels low. It may seem that no planning goes into this kind of style. The Dutch Style: This style is for the more serious planters. The tiny root systems of the various plants help to anchor the substrate to the bottom of the aquarium. The back of the aquarium will be higher than the front. in all its green glory. There are two main planting styles that have evolved among aquarists over a period of time. provided of course that they do not nibble away too much and kill the plant. Think natural . You will find that the aquarium is divided into terraces. An important element in this style is terracing or layering.natural. This helps you to take timely precautions and emergency protective measures. Plants may seem to be placed at random without any serious coordination. especially if you are using sand at the bottom.

Most aquarium plants found in marshes do well in warmer temperature. The plants are allowed to grow right out of the aquarium. The habitat aquarium is one in which you place ideally suited species of fish and plants that have the same requirements. but keep in mind that you should only change small parts of the water at a time. you will find that you are poorer by a number of fish after some time. Firstly. The kind of water you that you have and the temperature in you aquarium all play an important part in your plant life. care must be therefore be taken that the roots do not get disturbed. Very broadly.com 35 . When you are cleaning your aquarium or changing water. Therefore. but may not be able to cope with their surroundings after a period of time. You need to be extra careful when you keep an open aquarium. You can categorize the natural plants that should go into your aquarium depending upon their behavior. The tops of the plants are never trimmed. A habitat aquarium can also adopt the natural style. there are three kinds of underwater plants: Plants that float at the top of your aquarium Plants that will stay firmly rooted to the bottom Plants that come in a bunch and keep moving or floating around Keep in mind that you cannot put in just any plant. Another way to keep your plant life healthy is by leaving their roots undisturbed. and mimic their ecosystem.There are two ways in which you can adapt the natural planting style to your aquarium. In this kind of aquarium. If you have any jumpers in this aquarium. Just like fish. plants also need fresh supplies of water frequently. An open aquarium is therefore not suitable when you keep such fish species. and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is usually the ideal temperature for most tropical plants. They may adapt to the water initially. the top of the aquarium is left open most of the time. This is one more reason for making frequent water changes. The reverse is true in case of the leaves. It is seen that plants flourish even better if the heat generated is from the bottom so that their roots get enough heat. This can be achieved by placing a submersible heater right at the bottom of the aquarium where the water meets gravel. A habitat display will take plants and fish from some particular geographical location. Plants seem to do well when their leaves move more. there is the open style aquarium. Factors that affect plant growth Water The first consideration would of course be the water in which the plants will grow. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. and plants also take time to adapt and grow. regularly aerating your water using bubblers is a good idea. Changing your set up after some time is not very easy. Common household plants should naturally be avoided. Any plant that is not a water plant is bad news in the long run.

These plants are of course not very suitable for beginners. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Similarly. sand is a very poor substrate. Aquariums usually need about 1. The perfect substrate will also have a high Cation Exchange Capacity. a substrate that is capable of changing the water chemistry is also something to keep away from. Sunlight will promote the growth of algae. require only low to moderate lighting. Natural sunlight is made up of a number of light waves that have different wavelengths. Simply put. Organic substrates. The Cation Exchange Capacity refers to the ability of the medium to absorb nutrient ions. if your aquarium is deep. you should select a substrate that is inert and that will not alter your water chemistry. it is difficult to change it once the aquarium has been established. Of course. Some plants. Artificial light is therefore more advisable for plants growing in a aquarium. the Water Lily. The Water Wisteria. the Indian Fern. light is a necessity for healthy plants. this means that your substrate will hold on to the nutrients and make them available to plant roots. Some species like the Bacopa and the Cabomba require extra strong light. a single fluorescent tube will give enough light for these plants. So.5 watts of light per gallon of water and about 12 hours of light per day. Using light colored gravel is a good way to create a light bottom for a deep aquarium. will mess with your water quality and give out excess nutrients. A substrate that needs constant watching and gets messy is not recommended. It can be used only as an anchor for your plants. The plant pigment chlorophyll will absorb only certain light waves. Substrate In nature. Ideally. rich in nutrients. Java Fern and Java Moss. in many cases you are stuck with your substrate for a long time. In this respect. but for the beginner a substrate that is low maintenance and stable is the ideal choice. and the Waterweed are some plants that need bright light. plants are continuously receiving nourishment from their surroundings. This kind of substrate will require constant monitoring of the water. Aquarium plants derive nourishment from the substrate. Since the substrate lies at the very bottom of your aquarium. like the Anubias. It has none of the qualities described above.Lighting Since photosynthesis takes place in the presence of light. That is why you need to be wise when you choose it. and need to keep the light on for longer hours. Long exposure to sunlight will also heat up the water. Gravel will usually also have a very low Cation exchange Capacity and some types of gravel will alter the water chemistry. The wattage of light required for healthy growth in plants is also species dependent.com 36 . These plants will require at least one additional fluorescent tube to survive and flourish. Full spectrum or broad spectrum fluorescent light is best suited for plant growth. you may need additional wattage. So. There are different varieties of substrate available now.

take special care that they are not harmful for your fish. If you go any higher. Using commercially available tablets that dissolve in water and provide a lot of nutrients for your plants is also a good idea. copper. It also has iron and other trace elements that are good for your plants. Plants can have a hard time getting it. A soil that has only a little organic matter and has a higher concentration of fine clay particles is best suited for plant growth. it is very nice looking and nutrient rich. these are available to the algae and other microscopic organisms too. you need the aerators to keep your water rich in oxygen. Though it is a bit expensive. preferably at night. Carbon dioxide levels in your water should be between 5-15 Mg/l. The use of aerators is also a factor in the growth of your plants. It will not get soft when in water. Do NOT use peat moss. The easy way out is to turn on the bubblers only for a few hours a day. Sometimes. fish alone are not able to provide the optimum levels to support adequate plant growth. your fish will be harmed. it will start floating around and make your water cloudy. And even if the fish produce enough nutrients. but it is also very light and needs to be placed below a layer of heaver material. Unless you feed your fish a lot. Macronutrients include nitrates. When using additives. while others need to be pushed in near the roots of the plant. This will provide enough oxygen for your fish while not depriving your plants of the vital Carbon Dioxide. On the other hand. The plant requires these in large quantities. sulfates and phosphates. That is why using additives in the substrate as well as tablets in the water really assist plant growth. Some of these are to be mixed in with water. You will find more detailed information about plant nutrients later in this e-book. Nutrients like iron. zinc and calcium are some of these. Excessive amounts of these can prove harmful for the plants. Otherwise. Constantly keeping your air pumps or bubblers on will deplete the carbon dioxide levels in your water. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.Fluorite is a great substrate. Using suitable additives in your substrate will be beneficial to plants. These will decay after some time and prevent root growth in plants.com 37 . Commercially available products help to induce plant growth. Vermiculite is a soil additive that is very rich in nutrients. Micronutrients are nutrients required in trace amounts. Nutrients Both micro and macro nutrients are required by plants for growth. they will not provide all the nutrients that your plants need. it can lead to an undesirable 'algae bloom'. Keep in mind that plants require oxygen too. Carbon Dioxide is the most important nutrient that a plant needs. bagged potting soil or compost in your substrate. Carbon dioxide injections for your plants are an easy but pricey way out. If you introduce a lot of macronutrients to your aquarium.

They mostly form carpet-like matting at the bottom. it is a good idea to have a rough sketch of what kinds of plants you will put in. Bunch plants – plants that look good in a group – are usually middle ground or background plants. A deficiency in nitrogen and sulfur is indicated when the leaves turn yellow faster than usual. Suitable plants for beginners Before you start planting your aquarium. called the specimen plants. Java Moss and Java Fern are very hardy plants that can thrive in a wide range of soft and hard waters and even do well in a brackish aquarium. New plants form on the older leaves of existing plants. but can also be cut away. Constant use of aerators should be avoided. They do this by producing numerous runner plants. On the other hand.Plants will suffer when there is a deficiency in the nutrients. Java Fern should be attached to a piece of driftwood or rock. Floating plants also propagate very quickly and may block out all the light in your aquarium. Over fertilization may lead to problems too. Glossostigma sp. Filtration Almost any kind of filtration system will do for plants. They grow quickly and give a very lush appearance to your aquarium. Java Moss and Java Fern are some of the most common aquatic plants and they are very suitable for beginners. if you put some stones on the stems till they catch root. The new plants will break themselves off from the original plant. zinc or copper. They usually need lesser sunlight too.com 38 . Their main use is in hiding the stems of the background plants that are much taller. Water Wisteria can be used a carpet plant too. the filtration must create some currents in the water. The filtration should not produce too much of water disturbance. as this will deplete Carbon Dioxide levels. is one of the most popular carpet plants around. These particles will block sunlight and also form a deposit on plant leaves. Only a few things have to be kept in mind. The leaves getting yellow spots can indicate an excess of iron. Plants can be categorized depending upon how tall they grow. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. The middle ground plants are taller than the foreground plants. These plants will also tolerate a lot of different pH-values. but care must be taken to place floating plants away from the heat of the light bulb. After the roots are formed it will stick to its surface. Some plants. Initially. If the leaves seem to be very brittle. The background plants grow quite fast and can be used effectively to hide all the accessories in your aquarium. Foreground plants are species that are quite short and small. Use a filtration system that will filter out floating particles. as this will help easy circulation of nutrients. It is not very easy to grow but looks absolutely stunning. These plants are often used in shallow aquariums because they need plenty of strong light. These shoots can then be replanted. Floating plants are an attractive option. you probably need more iron in your aquarium. are large decorative species that are usually highlighted at the center.

Caring for plants The first and most basic needs of a plant are sufficient amounts of light. Availability is another matter to consider. Plants that are not easily eaten by fish are also good for the beginner. You will also be able to plant new shoots without spending more money. As described earlier. This is mainly because colorful plants typically require more direct light. As a rule of thumb. very colorful plants are unsuitable for beginners and green plants are a better choice. Many aquatic plants will flourish if proper conditions are provided. copper. since this plant thrives in virtually all conditions. Pale leaves indicate that there is a shortage of nutrients in the aquarium. Lillaeopsis looks more or less like grass. but does need bright lighting and can therefore be an unsuitable choice for your very first aquarium before you have learned how to control the algae. like Swords. many plant species can be replanted since the cut-off parts are capable of growing into a new plant. It is a popular plant among aquarists and it grows really well when it is submerged. After pruning. It grows fast.com 39 . and that fertilizers need to be added to the substrate. you can try the Cryptocoryne Beckettii. Thinning and pruning of plants is very important for them to grow well. zinc etc are also required in trace amounts. Nutrients like iron. Just like Java Moss and Java Fern. Amazon Sword grows pretty fast and therefore prevents algae formation. Such plants are usually available in most pet shops since they are easy to grow. Some plants propagate themselves and give off shoots that will develop into new plants. In some of the leafy plants. The taller plants will grow right out of your aquarium. Some plants that have floating leaves also need their leaves removed.The Amazon Sword is another very popular aquatic plant. oxygen and carbon dioxide. it is best to stick with plants that are not very exotic or pricey. you can keep Lillaeopsis. Wisteria is yet another example of a beautiful and undemanding plant that is suitable for your first aquarium. These will otherwise block the sunlight from the lower leaves as well as from other plants. But Wisteria also sucks a lot of nutrients from the water. If you are not equipped with enough know-how and experience in dealing with these situations. If your aquarium is provided with strong light. After Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. The Anubias Nana plant is also popular among beginners. these can be provided through the use of various fertilizers and additives. They will also become too thick and block sunlight. There are certain things besides these that will be beneficial to plants. This plant often flowers in water and is usually left alone by herbivorous fish. you will find that your aquarium will turn green with algae in no time. and take up too many nutrients. the Amazon Sword is a very hardy plant that is popular both among beginners and expert aquarists. The plant grows quickly and also helps to inhibit algae growth. Since you are new to the whole concept. Providing this light may play havoc with the temperature and algae levels in your aquarium. older and bigger leaves will need to be removed to provide sufficient light for the younger ones. Beginners must take some factors into mind when they select plants. Best results are obtained by tying the plant to a tree root or stone. If you want to keep an amphibious plant.

They will soon grow a new root system. Be very thorough while planting your plants. Snails and plant eating fish should be kept to a minimum. Protect the leaves of your plants from unnecessary damage. it is advisable to go for the popular varieties that are easily available. Remove any yellowing or sickly leaves on your plant before you put it in. plants are growing so fast that nutrients may get depleted. they will rot in the substrate. any dying roots should be removed. so that the growing tips of the plants will be exposed to water. Young plants that are in good condition have greater chances of survival. plants do not show many deficiencies because the nutrients present are quite sufficient for them. Enough spacing and anchorage are important. Decaying or dying roots will appear dark brown and limp. fresher leaves. In high growth aquariums where you have lots of plants and where you are using Carbon Dioxide injections. For your first aquarium. Before planting. "Mobile" nutrients are those that the plant can re-claim from the older leaves and use while producing younger leaves. Plants should be groomed before you put them into the water. while the healthy roots will be rigid and pale. If you intend to put in tubers. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. The plant will ultimately shed these leaves anyway and they can pollute the water and consume oxygen. Here are some tips for basic aquatic plant care: Be careful when you select your plants. then position them at an angle. One way to keep your planted aquarium running smoothly is to measure the nutrient level in your water by analyzing plant growth. you will sometimes find that the branches are becoming too dense.several pruning sessions. Otherwise.com 40 . The first thing you must ascertain while looking for nutrient deficiency is to see whether the symptoms are showing up in the older leaves or in the younger. rather than planted into the substrate. Such plants can be thinned by removing the older branches. This will help you narrow down the nutrient causing the problem. cut them and replant the cuttings. Once your stem plants reach the surface. In aquariums with low growth. In such an aquarium. Plants are good indicators of nutrient deficiency in your aquarium. This will also give the younger leaves enough sunshine. it will typically be the fastest growing plants that show the first symptoms of deficiency. Some plants like the Java Fern and the Java Moss will do better if they are attached to rocks.

Though the aforementioned list is not very exhaustive. This could be a stem cutting. There are different ways to prune and propagate different types of plants. you will find that this provides a general guideline to check for nutrient deficiency. if you take them seriously. Vegetative propagation takes place when a part of the plant itself is used to propagate the plant. Commonly. Sexual or seed propagation takes place when a new plant grows from the spore or seed of the parent plant. Most aquatic plants propagate in this manner. aquatic plants show two types of propagation. Examples of immobile nutrients are Copper. Calcium and Sulfur. Tiny new plants will grow from these. Propagation is mainly done to improve plant health.So. It is an excellent oxygenator and propagation takes place by replanting the lower leaves. here are some symptoms and causes that will help you. you will find your plants speaking to you about the ecosystem within the aquarium. Potassium. Moreover. If the older leaves show pinholes that gradually enlarge. being a rapidly growing plant. The immobile nutrients do not move. It will also flower easily. Though analyzing nutrient deficiency using leaf changes is not an exact science. The Floating Fern is an easy plant to take care of. Deficiency in Iron usually causes the leaves to become brittle and pale. The American Cress is a beautiful plant that grows easily and is easy to maintain. Each cut will sprout 2 or 3 new leaves. plants will flourish and thrive in your aquarium. Long stemmed plants should be trimmed to keep the balance of the entire layout intact. Dividing a plant and replanting it stimulates new growth. Iron. One should use long sharp scissors to do this. Magnesium and Zinc. Anubias do not grow enough to dominate any aquascape and they easily fall prey to algae infestation. corn or any other part of the plant. With time and experience. The Amazon Sword usually propagates when its leaders have been clipped and replanted. and their deficiency therefore usually shows up in the younger leaves. Propagation occurs when the aerial stems that are near the base of the plant are clipped and replanted. requires to be pruned regularly. Propagating plants Propagation refers to the process of making more plants to keep a plant variety alive. The Cabomba.com 41 . the plants can become top heavy and the branches become heavy and break off. After a number of trimmings. a tuber. it may be a Potassium deficiency. deficiency in these nutrients will usually show up in the older leaves. and your can propagate it Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Your fish will benefit a lot from this too. Mobile nutrients include Nitrogen. Withered edges and dead leaf tips show a deficiency in Copper. Phosphorous. Old leaves should be removed immediately after they show sighs of weakening. Twisted and bent or cupped leaves with yellowish to very pale edges are an indication of calcium deficiency.

Cuttings are the easiest way to propagate aquatic plants. Algae are mostly chlorophyll producing photosynthetic organisms that resemble plants a lot. which is another excellent plant. Large and frequent water changes will help to get rid of these. the algae consume the extra nutrients. There are several types of algae. Algae look ugly. Once a thick carpet of algae forms in your aquarium. their rhizomes should gently be cut away along with a few leaves. Before we start off. These need abundant sunlight to flourish. and are difficult to eradicate completely. When some aquatic plants produce side shoots. Excessive algae growth can be very frustrating for aquarists. The suspended green algae look like green water. If you try to chase away your algae too regularly. Since fish provide enough food for plants to grow. Algae grow fast. Contrary to plants. Filamentous green algae can be controlled by algae-eaters or by physical removal. The main categories include: The Green Algae The Blue-Green Algae The Red Algae. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. algae are single celled and are therefore not really plants. Algae Put very simply. you will be causing too much of stress for your fish. Foreground and Sword plants usually produce runners that will take care of propagating new plants. A small amount of algae is a natural part of the ecosystem and can even be an appreciated food source for many fish species. Do not resort to chemical controlling of algae if you can get by with the natural method. When nutrient levels are very high in your aquarium.by replanting the buds of matured plants. replanting the stems will produce new plants. they will however begin to compete viciously for all the nutrients that your aquarium can provide. especially when there is a regular supply of warm sunlight and rich nutrients. algae are a greenish/brownish growth that forms along the walls of your aquarium. Algae also indicate that the ecosystem within your aquarium is healthy. In the case of Wisteria. it is necessary to know some inevitable facts about the relationship of an aquarium with algae. If you have an aquarium. They can then be planted along the surface of the substrate. Algae can even be beneficial. or on plants and aquarium decorations. thus making the water healthier for your fish. They can be very damaging to plants as they rob them of vital nutrients. then algae are inevitable. especially for beginner aquarists and for those that have recently installed stronger lights. and The Diatoms The filamentous green algae form long green threads. It will sometimes be necessary to use algaecides. the chlorophyll filled algae too find your aquarium a safe breeding ground.com 42 . The "Algae Bloom" plagues almost every aquarium at one time or the other.

take a special kind of aquarium scrubber and clean the glass of your aquarium completely. We can simulate nature very poorly when we change 20% of the water twice in a week. Also remember to remove any weights or ties around the plants that you brought home. There are some things that you can do to hamper the growth and spread of algae. Fish do not eat blue-green algae and the best way to get rid of these algae is a week of total darkness in the aquarium. The first and most important step is REGULAR water changes. remove the rocks immediately. If you feel this could be the reason. Change a little of your water as often as you can. Keeping sunlight levels down. Excessive illumination and high nitrate and phosphate levels create an ideal environment for these algae. After soaking the plants in this for about 10 minutes. but they work on a limited type of algae only. Some rocks contain certain minerals that will cause algae to grow rapidly. You should clean the fake plants or decorations in your aquarium by soaking them in a 1:20 solution of bleach to water for a few hours. Remember. Several water changes are also a must to get rid of them. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. and using fluorescent lighting most of the time is also a simple way to keep the algae growth to a minimum. These then need to be soaked in dechlorinated water. the reason you do not find algae floating in running streams is because the water in the streams keep changing at least a hundred times a day. Diatoms form a layer of a brownish slime like substance on rocks. They also subside when lighting intensity goes up. glass and plants. You can use Potassium Permanganate or Alum to treat your new plants. it is necessary to keep their count low. it is a good idea to soak your entire aquarium in fresh water with a dechlorinator. The blue-green algae are much more harmful than the green algae types and produce substances that are toxic for fish. and much of your algae problems will be solved.The green spot algae form round spots on leaves and on the glass. Nothing can help you more than this. Using natural methods of control are a much better option. If you will be emptying out the entire contents of your aquarium. Most algae need lots of sunlight. Snails will also help to keep the sides of your glass aquarium clean. Snails and algae eating fish can be used to remove these. Excess algae growth will instead be found in pools and puddles where the water is still. At least once a month. These fish will eat the algae that grow on the sides of the aquarium and on the leaves. Since Algae are unsightly and parasitic. they should be rinsed thoroughly and then planted. New plants that come into your aquarium need to be treated to prevent algae from entering your aquarium. introducing algae-eaters as the first fish in your aquarium will greatly help to keep the algal growth at bay from the very beginning. As mentioned earlier. Algaecides are the chemical way to get rid of algae.com 43 . Using algae-eating fish species and grazing snails will greatly help to keep down the amount of algae in your aquarium. They are quickly eaten off by algae-eaters.

Examine all the fish in the aquarium and look for the healthiest of the lot. Whilst this is the most exciting part of the whole adventure for many aquarists. If you have a small aquarium. but unfortunately many of the fish that are sold as beginner's fish are really the least suited for a beginner. Remember to keep the temperature in the bag stable while you carry it home. the hardiest? Here are some pointers that will help you to start in the right direction. One good test is to put your hand against the glass on the aquarium. Since the bag is much smaller than the aquarium. Put them into a big bag with enough water in it. it is also one that is fraught with a little anxiety for most beginners. DO NOT go for fish that seem to be gasping for breath or just plain tired. You should therefore carry them home as soon as possible. Sellers will swear by the hardiness of their fish. unless you know for sure that he or she is knowledgeable and has a good reputation. Make sure that the species you are getting comes from a good stock. the easiest. Depending on the salesman to point you in the right direction is always risky. Once you have spotted the fish you like it is advisable to ask the salesman to take them out gently. It is also important to look at the adult size of the fish you are going to get. DO NOT knock on the glass. There are certain precautions that need to be taken right at the store where you are buying your fish. So. the fish will get stressed. one of each species? Which would be the best. and see which fish will try to peck at it.com 44 . A beginner's best choice is naturally a fish that is easy to feed.Fish Choosing Fish You are now equipped with all the important details on how to get a good aquarium up and running smoothly. and that is generally not too sensitive or too "picky". the fish may soon outgrow the size of the aquarium and that would be a pity after all the trouble you have taken to acclimatize the fish. you should ideally already have decided which species you are going to buy.Chapter 3 . It is hard not to feel tempted by all those beautiful. how about some fish? After reading so much on how to go about providing the best surroundings for the fish. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. though you have all these points right at your fingertips. Many a time. it is finally time to go shopping for your first fish. colorful fish swimming so happily at the store. Fish that are unhealthy in the store rarely recover from their lethargy. Reduce the amount of water in the bag to give room for more air and oxygen if you know there will be some time until you get home. When you get to the store. Should you get them all. you get duped at the fish store. These should be the ones you take home. Imagine how stressed the fish will be by and endless amount of customers that keep banging on the walls of the aquarium. These are generally the best fish in the lot. can adapt well to its new surroundings. hardy.

com 45 . They are a somewhat schooling fish. Some of the males can get aggressive towards each other. like vibrant orange and deep red. For this reason. Some of these include the White Cloud Mountain Minnows. Don’t buy the most elaborate types of guppy since these are more sensitive than the more basic types. More and more aquarists now strive to mimic a particular kind of biotope in their aquarium. They are fast swimming schooling fish that brings life to the aquarium. Since we are basically striving to rebuild a particular kind of habitat.When you start out. You should not get less than 6 specimens of a schooling fish. a long point at the very end of the tail fin. it is best to get a small school of a small schooling fish. Only keep Mollies if you keep an aquarium white a pH of above 7 and preferable some salt in the water. and several species of Danio and Rasbora. Mollies are quite peaceful by nature and are therefore great aquarium fish for beginners. Swordtails are very handsome and are easy to recognize. The Danios is another fast swimming group of fish. marbled or pure white. Since the model in nature is an Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. One of the main advantages of a biotope is that it is very stable. Swordtails can be slightly aggressive. Platy fish should always be kept in schools. Here is a brief list of some other hardy fish for the beginner: Guppy fish is a species that has been domesticated for many decades by fish keepers and Guppies are therefore well adapted to a life in aquariums. Barbs are very easy to feed. have very sociable temperaments and are pretty. we will be using ONLY the kinds of species and organisms found in that environment. but are not aggressive. The mail fish has a 'sword'. The Molly can be jet black. breed and feed and are therefore ideal for beginners. and the males tend to fight each other for dominance. you should purchase only one male and 2-3 females if you have a small aquarium. and at least 10 is preferred. They are also quite inexpensive. They are very easy to keep. The Barb fish are also favorites among beginners. and you will need to get a group of at least 4-6 guppies for them to do well. Biotopes Biotopes refer to a particular kind of ecosystem that has the physical conditions as well as the type of organisms that are found in that particular environment. You should always get a school when buying schooling fish. You can get Swordtails in a variety of colors. The Platy are distant cousins of the Swordtails. They also come in a large variety of colors.

There are many more complicated design structures that simulate biotopes such as the Zaire River Rapids. The best fish to go into this biotope are a school of Danios. The wood will provide the fish enough of nooks and crannies as shelters. Use a dark substrate and spread this to a depth of 2-2. The only restraint you need to exercise is that they should all be compatible with each other and able to tolerate the same general living conditions.5 and the temperature should be in the low eighties. and the temperature should be kept in the low eighties. danios and catfish. Two fluorescent full spectrum lights left on for about 12 hours a day should suffice. the Lowland Swamps of Africa etcetera. Laterite is a good addition to the substrate. the Congo Basin. You should also have a Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. 4-6 Angelfish. A community aquarium requires more planning than a biotope. The pH of the water should be low. The pH of the water should be around 6. Hydrilla. about 75 gallons or more in size. Water Lettuce and Nitelia are some of the native plants. they should put you well on your way to your first biotope. The fish may have originated from different parts of the world. Take care to leave some space for swimming. Java Moss. you just cannot go wrong if you follow the model as closely as possible. and the aquarium does not seek to simulate any particular ecosystem. Since they make use of easily available plants and fish. The kinds of fish that go in here are very pretty to the eye. 2-3 pairs of Gouramis and some Catfish. The bottom should be filled in with fine sand and gravel. You should start out with a clear understanding of what your aquarium should look like. With so many plants in the aquarium. The Asian Lowland Still water Biotope This is a biotope for slow moving species like the small barbs. This aquarium can hold a lot of your favorite fish in one go.excellent working example of your biotope. There are many kinds of biotopes that you can set up. Water lilies.5 inches. The Community Aquarium A community aquarium. is an aquarium that has a large variety of fish living together peacefully. and need conditions that can easily be set up and maintained. This biotope is richly planted. a school of Hatchet fish and some armored Catfish make this a stunning display of that ecosystem. Slight water circulation and a single fluorescent light will be enough for this calm and peaceful setup. to about one and a half inch of height. These are just two of the easier biotopes that a beginner can try out at first. lighting has to be bright. and here are two examples suitable for beginners. as opposed to the Biotope. The Root biotope of South America You would need a big aquarium for this set up.com 46 . You would need a standard 40-50 gallon aquarium for this one. you do not need any plants in this kind of a biotope. Place bogwood and driftwood in the aquarium.

the Golden Barb and The Harlequin are ideal additions to a community aquarium. the more fish and flora it can accommodate. To make your aquarium more lively and interesting. For instance. The Dwarf Cichlids. Adding Laterite to your substrate will help your plants to flourish well. They do however require very good water conditions and will become territorial at the time of spawning. The larger it is. As for lights. The Danios are active and hardy shoaling fish that can survive most conditions easily. The Corydoras Catfish: Being generally peaceful fish that are small in size. the first aim of a community aquarium is to provide a stress free. if you mix a small Tetra community with a group of Cichlids. large.com 47 .deeper understanding of aquarium set up and maintenance. they also do well in a community aquarium. A hood also keeps evaporation to a minimum. The Ram Cichlid and the Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid are good varieties. Adding fish to a community aquarium can get a little tricky if you have not done some research on the fish. middle and bottom dwellers. an outside power filter is good in a large aquarium because they are easy to use as well as clean. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. you may see that your Tetras have vanished silently. small. Of these the Zebra Danio. diurnal. all you need in this venture is just a bit of common sense. you will need a cover to keep the fish in the aquarium if you keep jumping species. Remember a community aquarium is one that will take up quite a lot of time and effort and should receive that much attention. You must therefore be careful and create a fish community you can live well with each other. you should ideally also think about choosing fish that inhabit all areas of your aquarium. The Bronze Cory and the Peppered Corydoras are ideal. Also. healthy and stable environment for all the various species of fish that go into your aquarium. Make sure that the aquarium is away from direct sunlight. As variety is what will keep this layout attractive. unlike their larger cousins are generally peaceful and grow only to around 5 centimeters in length. If you can afford it. larger aquariums are easier to maintain. Keep in mind that a large aquarium will rest safer on a special aquarium stand than on a piece of furniture. Just like with other types of aquariums. Of course. Some species that are ideal for a community aquarium are listed below: Rasboras and Barbs: Not all fish are peaceful and some grow quite big. and that your Cichlids are not very hungry when you feed them. The best-suited aquarium for this kind of a setup is the large aquarium. For this you need to put in some top. you can put in nocturnal. the Leopard Danio and the Pearl Danio are worth selecting. double fluorescent lights are the minimum requirements. unless you are using plastic plants. lively and calm fish . The Cherry Barb.just about any kind of fish as long as they can co-exist peacefully. The main idea behind such an aquarium is to get various specimens from a wide geographical area that can co-exist well. Remember.

The Tiger Barb is active and colorful. The Clown Loach and the Zebra Loach are some of the best in this group. you can explore the other species and add one more specimen at a time. Black Neon Tetras and Buenos Aires Tetras are some of the best of the lot to start with. The Fire Eel. Danios.Guppy. They also grow too big for a small community aquarium. the Pacu. These may harm the other fish too: Angelfish is normally peaceful. A small shoal of Tetras is also a good species to have. they become very attractive as they grow and mature. Though the younger ones are not very colorful. and the South American Leaf Fish are some varieties that you should keep away from. but are not very sociable in their attitudes. they are mostly peace loving fish. the Glowlight Tetra and the Neon Tetra are worth mentioning in this group. Golden Barbs. Red-Tailed Catfish. Though some species are a bit aggressive. They will thus injure themselves and may also be the cause of an infection in the aquarium. The dwarf species like the Dwarf Neon rainbow and the Banded Rainbow will do well in a community aquarium.com 48 . but during the spawning season males tend to get aggressive towards other fish. As they age. Platy and Swordtail are the most popular among the Livebearers. The Buenos Aires Tetras are also very hardy fish suitable for beginners. The Red Tailed Black Shark will become very aggressive with others of its own kind. Gouramis too are often territorial and quite aggressive. and do especially well when in groups of 4-6 or more. Loaches are a good addition to any community aquarium. As you gain experience. especially towards other males of the same species. and tend to bash themselves against the glass sides and other obstacles in the aquarium. Livebearers are typically easy to breed in aquariums and give birth to free swimming fry. The Rainbow fish are active and colorful shoaling fish and a welcome addition to most aquariums. Here is a small list of fish that are often sold as community fish. though keeping them in a shoal can reduce this tendency. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Paddlefish. Some of these species also chase the smaller fish relentlessly and become very territorial as they grow in size. Some of these grow very big. they become more territorial. but they may nip the fins of other fish. Platy. The Black Neon Tetra. Some species grow quite large later on.

A well-stocked community aquarium is a dazzling display of Nature at her best. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.com 49 .The number of fish. and the kinds of plants that go into your community aquarium can be as large and varied as you can afford. you will find many ways to make your aquarium even more beautiful. their type. As you keep going ahead with your project. Only your imagination and your budget can limit you in this.

You need to treat these fish immediately. An observant aquarist will be able to spot abnormal behavior in his fish in the earlier stages. it is important to understand why it is necessary to give regular care to your aquarium and its occupants. Here are some obvious signs of stress that will help you to help your fish: Clamped Fins is a very bad sign.Chapter 4 . Before we go into the details. Your aquarium being a thriving ecosystem generates a lot of waste and toxic materials in the normal course of its day-to-day operation.com 50 . If steps are not taken in time. scraping against the obstacles in the aquarium and when affected by disease. There's maintenance work to be done! The good thing about maintenance work is that if it is done on a frequent basis it is relatively simple and quick. when fighting with other fish. This is called Shimmying. e. Daily routine Checking the fish You should check your fish EVERYDAY for signs of stress and disease. you can sit back and enjoy the view. cleaned and replanted. not exactly sit back. but it stays at the same place. Shimmying is easy to spot and if treated quickly. The substrate in your aquarium is like a garbage bin that collects all the material wastes. If you are keeping any invertebrates in your aquarium. The water in the aquarium is regularly getting depleted of vital nutrients. you can cure the fish completely. The faster you are able to spot any undesirable signs in your aquarium. the sores get cured Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. The plants will also generate waste products and growing plants will need to be pruned. In this case. A minimal amount of algal growth is unavoidable in any functional aquarium. Here is a basic outline of what you need to do on a periodic basis. the faster you can start rectifying matters. Sores on the body of a fish can usually be spotted with the naked eye. these will also need special care. It is also collecting a lot of diluted waste that needs to be thrown out. maintenance can instead turn into a dreaded chore. the fish holds its fins very close to its body.Aquarium Maintenance Once you have got your aquarium all set up and running beautifully.g. And like any garbage left unclean for a period of time. The fish seems to be swimming very fast. this will begin to fester and give out infection causing germs. not letting it move away from the body. It is therefore vital to clean and replenish your aquarium regularly to keep your aquarium in good health. Many a time. The fish give out ammonia and solid fish wastes that collect in the aquarium. Speed is definitely an important factor here. Well. Fish develop sores for many reasons. Microscopic organisms will build up in the water over a period of time. Any infection needs to be stopped in its initial stages to limit the damages.

and these have been ignored. not only to save that fish. Ammonia.com 51 . Quite often. Nitrite and Nitrate levels. White spots on the body of the fish are called "Ich Spots". including Ich. Itching can be caused by a wide range of problems. If the fish seems to be hovering at the top of the aquarium and "gasping" for breath. the thermometer readings of your aquariums need to be taken on a daily basis. This is a very common disease of the fish. The temperature of the water has to be checked regularly. Now the fish are too stressed out and tired. or on the rocks. there is a lack of oxygen in its aquarium These are the common symptoms that indicate the start of a disease or extreme stress. this fish has shown other signs of sickness like sores or shimmying. or throws out the food immediately after it takes it inside its mouth. As you know. Never clean your filter too often. When a fish rubs itself on the sides of the aquarium. it filters out the waste. or more often if large debris become stuck. Fish that have crashed at the bottom of the aquarium are usually down due to sheer exhaustion. the sores will instead become bigger. There are some fish that cannot survive in cooler temperatures and may start showing signs of stress. Once the initial stages have been crossed. or if the fish is already much stressed. It can also start giving out an odor and there may be a collection of foam at the top of the aquarium. Oxygen levels etc need to be kept just right. This medium has to be kept as clean and as fresh as possible. The pH level of the water. it is very difficult to bring the fish back into good health. This foam usually contains waste materials and bacteria. Mechanical filters need to be cleaned every 2-4 weeks. If the fish does not eat properly. The water may become cloudy if it is not kept clean. there is something to watch out for. The underlying factors must naturally also be corrected. So. Ignoring these symptoms will lead to more serious symptoms. Checking the Filter The filters are among the most important items in the aquarium. In that case they have to be treated. thus trapping most of the waste and toxic materials. This is where knowing your water chemistry is important. and if treated early it can be controlled and cured. If the conditions in your aquarium are not optimal. It does this because it is itchy. A clean aquarium should for instance contain a large amount of beneficial bacteria. Lack or loss of appetite is another bad sign. The chances of curing these fish are more remote. Checking the water The water is the medium in which all your aquatic life depends. but also to prevent spread of infection. this is called "Glancing". The word “clean” does however have a special meaning when we are discussing aquariums. This will destroy the bacteria culture in the filter and prevent it Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.automatically.

Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Water will build up large residues of waste. Weekly Routine: Since the water in your aquarium is stagnant. Check whether all the fish are eating. the fish in your aquarium will be subjected to stress. the toxin is released into the water and might harm or kill the fish in the aquarium. nitrate and nitrite is the primary source of toxin. There are two important factors that decide how effective your water change will be: The frequency of the water change. Feeding the fish It is enough to feed fish once or twice a day. you need to check whether the system is working properly every day to ensure water quality. The toxin is created when the oxygen is depleted when no new water is pumped into it. If your aquarium water has the same pH. This is due to the fact that the filter may contain toxic water after being turned of. and the percentage of water you change each time. If you discover the filter for some reason has been turned of you’ll need to clean it before turning it on again. When the waste deposit near the filter becomes high.from working properly. Some bacteria must be allowed to survive in the filter and re-colonize it. In a regular aquarium. When using mechanical filters. then filtration becomes ineffective. changing large amounts of water may stress your fish enough to even kill them. One water change should however never be very large. Do not feed the fish more than they will eat within a few minutes.com 52 . the nitrate and nitrite build up in an aquarium with a large number of fish can be quite high even after a short period of time. these also will need to be removed as soon as their presence are not longer required. It is for the same reason important to never use hot water when cleaning your filter. this is the best line of defense as it would be more stressful for the fish to stay in the unsuitable water. Remove all uneaten food after 10 minutes. The overall effectiveness of the water change is dependant on the amount of water you change in a period. You should not leave ANY unwanted chemicals in the water of your aquarium. When you replace a little of the water with new water. you are effectively reducing the total amount of waste concentration in the aquarium. then changing up to 50% of water at a time will not stress the fish. temperatures etcetera. surest and cheapest way to detoxify your aquarium. it can still be necessary to do large water changes quite often. During emergencies. If you start the filter without cleaning it. temperature and hardness as your new water. If there is a significant discrepancy in pH levels. When there is a sudden change in your water quality (pH and temperature etc). Regular water change is the safest. dissolved gases and debris if left unchanged. If you have used medications in the water. In some cases. Since fish excrete nitrous wastes. it needs to be partially changed as often as once or twice a week.

then making more frequent changes of small quantities of water will be the safest way to go. Another factor is that in the course of time. rock etc. you must take into account the number of fish you have in the aquarium. Also. or through the use of certain chemical additives. If you notice that the pH of your water changes sharply. the more stressed the fish become because you will need to change larger portions of the water. you need to get replacement water that is as near a match to the existing water in the aquarium. Effective biological and mechanical filtration is another excellent way to combat the waste buildup in your aquarium. you must clean your filters regularly. large water bodies like a river or lake has very high quantities of water to dilute the wastes formed in them. Dechlorinate the water if you are taking it from your tap. But this should only be taken as a starting point for you to assess the needs of your particular aquarium. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. the water in your aquarium will tend to change its chemistry a little. If you add salt into your water. Water changes helps to remove nitrate and nitrite after it have been produced. invertebrates if any and also the algae build-up in your aquarium. Debris like uneaten fish food. While you decide on how much and how often you need to change your water. water changes are largely aquarium dependent. A much improved growth rate is seen in such cases. It is however also possible to remove some of the nitrogenous waste before it turns into nitrate and nitrite. One way to start off is by replacing about 25% of your water once a week. if you are keeping messy feeders like Cichlids. the water often gets changed many times in the course of a day.To facilitate this. Remember to add water conditioners every time you change the water. For this. More frequent water changes are said to be especially beneficial while breeding and raising fry. If you keep large Cichlids and predatory fish. You can push the acidity of the water up or down by using non-inert materials like crushed corals. Here is a rough calculation on species-dependent water changes: A community aquarium that is not fully stocked up does well with 20% water changes every 2 weeks. remember that in nature. A fully stocked community aquarium can do with a 20% water change every week. Thus. The longer the gap between changes. Also. you will need to change your water frequently. How frequent should the water change be? If you can change the water more frequently. Also keep in mind that the chlorine amount in your water is sometimes weather dependent.com 53 . The water should be treated when you change it. these levels also have to be adjusted. it is necessary to keep a check on your water chemistry every time you make a change. fish waste etc will typically collected near the filter from where it can be scoped up. For the water change to be effective. 25% water changes every week is recommended. Thus. There are certain things to keep in mind each time you change your water. then you need to change only lesser quantities of water.

In aquariums that are richly planted. then nutrients may be released into the water column. vacuuming the substrate may be very difficult. This will lead to an increase in the algae population in your aquarium. Plunging a siphon into a nutrient rich layer of the substrate will make the water cloudy.com 54 . The “Old Aquarium” Syndrome Just when you feel that everything has settled down and that your aquarium is doing extremely well. the end of the siphon tube should be plunged into the gravel to suck the dirt out. since it will help keep the filter bed healthy. So. disaster strikes. Special siphon tubes with wider end pieces are available for this purpose. how does the sudden loss occur? Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Also remember to check the expiry date on the boxes and bottles of the supplies you are using in your aquarium. change 10-15% of water every day. air-stones and other equipment to see if they are in proper working order. hold a clean garden hose half an inch or so above the surface of the water. This will churn up the substrate and disturb the roots. Then. Monthly Routine The fluorescent lighting in your aquarium needs to be checked once a month. the gravel will subside back into its place gently. And you don't know why! The water seems crystal clear. If you have a gravel substrate. and they can be siphoned off. Your test kits also have a date on them. Remember all kinds of fish will not take kindly to sharp changes in water temperature. A special kind of scrubber is available to clean the aquarium surfaces thoroughly. The plant roots themselves will keep the substrate healthy. Stir up the gravel slightly as you go along. Siphoning is particularly important in aquariums that have Under Gravel filtration in place. The debris will rise away from the gravel. it is better to change it quickly.If you are rearing fry up to 1 month old. The lighting provides heat and if your light has reached its last legs. Removing dirt and debris from your substrate by siphoning it out is highly recommended. Scrape the glass surfaces of your aquarium to remove algae from them. Thus the solid waste in your aquarium will be removed. One of the most important steps in your weekly routine is vacuuming your substrate. Plants tend to get damaged when their roots are disturbed. Inspect tubing. In case of sand substrate. This will help to remove the visible debris without disturbing the surface of the sand. and will prompt you to take unnecessary precautionary steps. Using these after their expiration can give you wrong readings. If this happens. vacuuming a planted substrate is not necessary. After that. there has been no fish loss and your plants also look very healthy. This also prevents these wastes from further breaking down into nitrates and phosphates in the aquarium.

Then. In reality something totally different is happening. This leaves behind the dissolved wastes as well as any salt you have added to the water. The closed aquarium is actually precariously poised when it comes to equilibrium. Ammonia will start building up in your aquarium. But the pH level may go up due to additives used. they will be shocked and stressed by the harsh conditions in your aquarium. When the pH level in your aquarium is below 6. Often. Filtration If you consider water clarity to be any indication of water purity. the problems will start snowballing when you add new fish. When you take the above into account. the ammonia becomes toxic. Even at this stage. the pH level in your water will drop drastically. There is only one way to remedy this: frequent water changes. If left unchecked. nitrite. they also indicate that your aquarium is healthy and has the right combination to support life. Even water evaporation causes the impurity level in the water to rise as only water evaporates. Regular maintenance of the aquarium will keep the "Old Aquarium" syndrome at bay. The older inhabitants in your aquarium have already adjusted to this. ammonia and phosphate levels in water. This will in turn affect the beneficial bacterial growth in your aquarium. The fish in the store were used to a more stable and probably healthier environment. affected as they are by the negative conditions in your aquarium. Water will harbor millions of microorganisms even when it looks crystal clear. Lack of proper maintenance will add to the potentially dangerous situation. In a closed aquarium. once it gets habituated to your aquarium. you are going to be shocked out of your complacency soon. and this will prove disastrous to your fish in the long run. albeit slowly. Everything in the aquarium affects the other things in one way or the other. or due to evaporation etc. But the fish. will adjust to these changes and initial signs of stress may go unnoticed too.This is called the "Old Aquarium" syndrome. except in the basic water parameters. Nor can we see the disease causing microorganisms that settles in substrate or on decoration and plant surfaces. the balance in the aquarium is dependent on many factors. Ironically. When they are introduced into your aquarium.com 55 . Rising nitrate levels show the first indications of the "Old Aquarium" syndrome.0. it will catch on like fire. Most of the times. The shocked fish will be susceptible to diseases and once an infection has developed in your aquarium. you will notice that there will be a continuous decline or accumulation of various elements in your aquarium. noticeable signs of danger are not seen in the aquarium. We can definitely not see the nitrate. people blame the store for giving them infected or stressed fish. All the fish will soon show signs of stress. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. this high level of ammonia will not affect the balance in your aquarium. though the algae growing in you water look ugly.

There may be fits and starts of power supply and you need to ensure that your equipment does not bear the brunt of this. Thus. Also remember that more food also means more fish waste. Many beginners are confused by how much they should feed their fish. Removing fish waste becomes a bit of a problem if your power goes. The next step would be to procure battery powered air pumps. The first thing that occurs when the power goes is the shutting down of the mechanical filtration. This will help to introduce more air into your aquarium. Uneaten fish food. Rinse out the canister media in dechlorinated water and put Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. In such a scenario. the nitrate and ammonia levels in your water begin to escalate. even for a few hours. All the electrical equipments should be switched off or unplugged. So. Feeding your fish well is also a part of the maintenance process. Mechanical filtration basically aims at removing the larger particles and debris from the aquarium. For mechanical filtration to be effective. A small change in a single factor can cause disaster. A good thumb rule is to feed fish only as much as they can eat in the first 5-10 minutes. can wreck havoc in your aquarium. dying plant parts that fall off from the parent plants etc can be easily caught by the mechanical filters. Within a few short hours. it is always better to have a lightly stocked aquarium. Do not let it accumulate in your aquarium. A fish aquarium that is stuffed to its capacity is very delicate in its balance.com 56 . you should however keep the lid on. Get the battery-powered filtration in place and running smoothly. The heating in your aquariums also becomes non-existent and the lights turn dark. Thus your water will remain oxygenated as well as filtered. If you are in an area that is prone to power outages. A sponge filter that runs off an air stone will also be a good option. Remove any left over food particles immediately after each feeding. If your room is cold. A single air pump along with an air stone will suffice for every two feet of aquarium length. do not feed your fish for a day. since it will start decaying. feed sparingly. A feed followed by a partial water change will minimize the collection of food waste and associated waste problems in your aquarium. All the canister filters should be opened up to expose them to air. then you need to invest in some additional hardware. you must clean the filter material every 2-4 weeks. Power outages. So. this filtration technique allows you to trap and remove debris before it decays. and then feed them minimally.This is where effective filtration can be a lifesaver. in case of a power outage. Here are some steps to be followed if your power outage is going to last for more than a few hours: Remove the top of the aquarium.

you definitely do not want to lose the beneficial bacteria. As can be seen from the descriptions above. Regular maintenance will reduce your load as well as keep the fish happy. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. things are bound to be a little complicated. At a time like this. you will see that your fish are thriving in their beautiful new home.com 57 . you will need to increase your water temperature using other methods.them back gently again. But during the cold months. This will help to preserve the colonies of beneficial bacteria stuck to the filters. with a little effort and patience. Rinse out the sponge filters also in dechlorinated water. But. aquarium maintenance can be as easy or as tough as you want it to be. In case of extreme heat. The most important thing to remember is that when you are trying to copy such a complex thing as nature. leaving the tops open will substantially reduce heat. The last thing to do is to ensure that your water's temperature remains as constant as possible.

com 58 . are bottom feeders. food that is nutritious as well as delicious? How much should you feed them. Just like mammals. how do you find out your fish's favorite food. or the intensity of the glare coming from your lights can be too harsh. while others are midwater feeders or surface feeders. the fish may feel insecure. Security as well as good health is also necessary. the temperature in your aquarium is just not right. Sometimes. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Since fish are very diverse in their habits. Some fish species will even jump out of the water to catch insects! You will also notice that some fish enjoy eating your plants while others enjoy eating your other fish. Dimming lights a bit until the fish get used to the lights is a good idea. fish too need nutritious food. for instance. and regurgitate it if they feel that it is not acceptable. That is why many of the exotic varieties of fish shouldn’t be maintained in an aquarium by anyone but an experienced aquarist. Their native food and the varieties that they need to survive and do well are to though for less experienced aquarists to provide.Chapter 5 . Obviously. Predatory fish have a different kind of feeding pattern. a single type of food will not be enough to meet the requirements of the fish.Food Feeding Fish Like all living species. a fish may not take to its food right away. The feeding of fish and their nutrition is one of the most important factors in keeping them healthy. If your aquarium does not resemble its natural habitat or is completely devoid of friendly objects like plants. Even the most nutritious of food goes to waste if the fish does not understand that it is to be eaten. As any successful aquarist will tell you. how often should you feed and what do you do if they do not eat? Are they just not hungry or are they showing signs of stress? It can sometimes be very confusing to interpret the signals your fish are giving off. There are a number of varieties of fish food available in the stores today. Both instinct as well as training affects this recognition. Some fish may take in the food. Most of the fish that have adapted to aquarium life can be trained and habituated to eat different kinds of food. it may taste it before it accepts the feed. Once the fish has located the food. Upon introduction into its new home. there is a large diversity in their eating patterns too. but here are some general traits in food that can attract fish. different fish species require different food types. Various visual and chemical clues point out the food to the fish. Generalizations about the sensory characteristics of diverse kinds of fish will therefore not be accurate or appropriate. Some fish. Hunger is not the only thing that leads a fish to food. The first step is that the fish has to be able to recognize food. observing feeding patterns is one of the most enjoyable as well as important steps in aquarium keeping. So. That is why you should know your fish before you buy their food.

there are fish that are so used to a routine in their feeding that they start grouping when they hear sounds that normally precede feeding. sound travels about four times faster than it does through air. but flavor has to be dissolved in water for the fish to locate it. Some kinds of food can strongly stimulate fish to feed by their flavor. Understanding feeding and digestion in fish When compared to humans. The Puffer fish has a stomach that can be inflated with air or water in order to scare off enemies. So. Some even have taste receptors on their skin. These receptors carry messages to the brain and tell the fish to swim towards the food. Therefore. These sensors thus help the fish to zero-in on their food. So. a fish can actually "hear" sound through the vibrations that take place in water. desist from giving your fish sweet and fatty food. while the Pacu fish have teeth adapted to crushing fruits and nuts. The stomachs of fish are also generally adapted to the kind of food they eat. many fish species have nostrils that help them to identify the various things they come across. Some fish have receptors in their mouths. Predatory fish generally have sac shaped stomachs that allow them to pack away enormous amounts of food. Smell can be detected by the specific anatomical receptors in fish. fish needs to be able to identify their food and also their mates through the sense of smell. Some species of fish have teeth. Food that is partially digested moves from the stomach into the intestine. Also. The teeth in fish are generally adapted for performing special functions. Here it is digested further and the nutrients are absorbed into the body. bottom feeders rarely come to the top of the aquarium to eat food. but these stimuli need not be the same as in humans. By picking up these vibrations in water. or on the head or lips. In nature. Smell The sense of smell is highly developed in fish. the fish become aware of the feeding frenzies that cause many fish to conglomerate when the feeding begins. Similarly. the digestive system in fish is relatively simple. The Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Color and Buoyancy of food Some fish that are used to feeding on floating food may not take to food that has sunk to the bottom. Sound Through water.Flavor and taste This characteristic of food is especially important in case of bottom feeders. A majority of the fish species in the tropical variety are however not very picky when it comes to the buoyancy of food. Predatory Catfish will for instance have small sharp pointed teeth. There will of course be variations that are species-dependent.com 59 .

and will collect in the aquarium as waste. Do not make your fish obese. the healthier the fish. In a closed system. fish also gain unhealthy fat from over eating. which can be provided only by rotating the feed. Mostly. Some predatory fish eat food only after chasing the live food. Some fish like the catfish will eat just about any amount of food.com 60 . feed your fish only according to their nutritional needs. Small fish can be scared away by larger fish and newly introduced fish may be too shy to get to the food. the more resistance will they have to disease and infections. they also need a variety of nutrients. They become too big and lose health. This is very difficult to ascertain. Yes. So beware when you feed live food to your fish. Food for the fish has to encompass a large number of nutrients. the fish have no choice but to eat what they are provided with. Feeding fish the same kind of food day after day tends to dry up their appetite. such as germs or other parasites. Giving your fish the right kind of food at the right time and in the right amounts is crucial to their growth and development. unless you culture your own live food. insect larvae etcetera and will stay much healthier when provided with live food. So. together with other waste products produced by the metabolism. Every type of fish has a specific feeding requirement. fish are able to take in the food they need within 510 minutes of their feed. Overfeeding introduces a lot of unwanted toxins into your system. you have to feed them according to their particular needs. All these together make your fish healthy and able to adapt to changing conditions in the aquarium. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Besides. Hyperactive fish and fast swimmers will get the first pick in the aquarium. Many fish species love worms. Give your fish a variety of food. They only move about within the confines of your tiny little aquarium. Be very careful when and if you introduce live food into your aquarium. Food that is not completely digested and absorbed leaves the body through the anal opening. If you want fish that are full of energy.herbivores have an elongated intestine and their systems are more complicated than the carnivores. Herbivorous fish require lots of fiber in their diet. in them. Care must however be taken to ensure that these food varieties do not carry infections. Remember that fish in your aquarium do not expend energy looking for and chasing food. Obtaining food can become a problem in a community or biotope aquarium at times. Food left in the aquarium after the first 10 minutes of feeding is not needed by the fish. Remember. decaying and releasing toxins. while carnivores require food that is rich in protein.

since energy is also derived from proteins. In most cases. That is why fish need lesser amounts of food than do most other animals. Amino acids are derived from proteins and the fish uses them to make new body tissues as well as enzymes. Krill and brine fish are some of the foods that are rich in pigments. their dependency on protein reduces. These are organic substances that act as catalysts for many of the biochemical reactions within the fish. growth rate etc. The best way to get a rich supply of vitamins to your fish is to buy small quantities of diverse food for them. Fatty acids Fatty acids are a storehouse of energy for most fish. On a dry-weight basis. are not ingested fully by fish. Carbohydrates can also do this job. As the fish grow larger. which have very high levels of raw starch. Vitamins and minerals Vitamins are vital to fish health. this makes up the maximum weight in their body structure. They provide stamina. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates make up 20-30% of the common commercial foods. It is also seen that some of the predatory fish species require some source of fish oil in their diet too.com 61 . Almost all vitamin deficiency will increase the fish's susceptibility to diseases and stress. Fish are very adept at converting food to body tissues. they develop signs of ill health if there is a high concentration of carbs in their diet. Storing excess Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Carbohydrates are almost nonexistent in the food intake for many fish species. While they are alternate sources of energy. Fish that live within the confines of an aquarium are naturally prone to obesity. Some fish lose their reproductive capabilities if there is too much body fat. Fry and larvae require a more protein rich diet to maximize their adaptability and chances of survival. they are not very necessary for fish growth. The temperature of the water also affects protein requirements. if young fish ingest too much of carbs. amount of natural food available. For instance. Fat-soluble carotenoid Fat-soluble carotenoid is responsible for the bright hues in some fish. excess fat can be damaging to the general health of the fish. That is why cereal grains. The quantity of protein required for the fish to be healthy depends on a number of variables like the species of fish.Protein Protein is the single most important nutrient that the fish needs to grow. other nutrients will not be absorbed appropriately by their bodies. Though most fish will handle some amount of carbohydrates. They do not use up their excess energy in swimming long distances or looking for food.

This will also allow you to check out the various varieties as they become available. Drop a pinch or two of the flake into the water and observe the rate at which this is eaten. Freeze-dried feeds: Worms. If they are kept in hard water. For the bottom feeders. They are easy to keep and have fairly long shelf lives. Though mineral supplements will help to compensate this deficiency. fresh insect larvae. For vegetarian fish. if any. If your aquarium consists of bottom dwellers mainly. and feeder fish . you probably should go in for algae wafers and discs. One serving of algae per day is enjoyed by almost all fish except for predatory fish. Minerals are also necessary for you fish.com 62 . Types of food Most commonly. mineral supplements should not be used indiscriminately.all come under this category. Live foods: Maggots. An unfortunate truth about flake food is that the nutrients in the flake food get deteriorated quite quickly. Therefore. but soft water has absolutely no supplies of calcium. teeth and scale tissues require lots of minerals.food in the freezer also prolongs the life of the vitamins. Once the flake food has settled down. If a disc has not been eaten within 24 hours. there are vegetarian flakes available. larvae. This is a great way to feed wholesome food to the fish. Providing frozen or fresh vegetables and live food can also supply the much-required vitamins to your fish. and releasing toxins. Always buy more than one variety and rotate your feed. live worms. So. Flake food refers to a kind of food that is most commonly eaten by both marine as well as tropical freshwater fish. such as algae flakes. They are an excellent source of various minerals too. This is ideally suited for top dwellers and mid-water fish. The fish too Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. They come in various flavors. brine shrimp and krill etc. fish food can be divided into 3 main categories: Manufactured food: This includes floating and sinking pellet. Bones. Your tropical fish will most likely suffer from a lack of Calcium and Phosphorous. excess of some minerals can be poisonous. The minerals also carry out many supportive functions. fish are able to extract some amount of calcium from it. granular and flake food. it is important that you buy only as much flake as you need for a month or so. it has to be removed otherwise it will start putrefying in your aquarium. Flake foods have evolved over the years and come much closer to providing for all your fish's nutrient needs. it can be eaten by the bottom dwellers too. You can even get different kinds of flakes in one can. Then you can decide how much needs to be put in the next feeding. it would be a good idea to pre-soak the flake food so that it will sink to the bottom as soon as it is introduced into the water.

They are unfortunately also known to carry diseases and are very fatty which means that Tubifex only should be used once in a while. These are primarily used to feed fish fry.com 63 . krill and river shrimp. they will prefer to eat something larger than a tiny flake. are minute shrimps collected from saltwater ponds. Bottom dwellers often need to be fed separately.get bored of eating the same stuff everyday. but this method is naturally only effective for the germs outside the body. Plankton can be trapped or netted from ponds for feeding. there are also freed dried foods like Tubifex. they remain dormant inside cysts. Tubifex worms are a hot favorite among a large number of fish. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Fish that are too small to feed on brine shrimp will find these an excellent choice. If you have larger fish in your aquarium. on the other hand. Planktons are minute floating aquatic plants and animals. Sinking or floating pellets are therefore a better choice for larger fish. A good flake food is one that meets the needs of most of the fish in your community aquarium. they have larger mouths. Rinsing out live food thoroughly before introducing it into water will greatly help reduce the chances of carrying the disease into your aquarium. then there is no fear of it being infected or chemically treated. they'd prefer to eat something bigger. You do not want your fish to show signs of disease after it have innocently eaten something you provided. Besides flakes and pellets. After all. flavor and popularity of the various manufactured food that you find in the store. Live foods Despite the variety. Pellets come in various sizes and shapes. suited for fish of different sizes. so granular food is ideal for this kind of fish. Each cyst will contain one single animal. there is still a need to feed your fish some varieties of live food as often as you can. Earthworms and Redworms are other popular sources of food for tropical fish. Live food needs to be approached with a bit of caution. You should be absolutely sure that the food you provide the fish is fresh and without any signs of decay or infection. and naturally. Granular feed needs to be used only if your bottom feeders are not getting enough sunken flakes or seem hungry. They are very popular among some fish varieties like the Cichlids. Even after they are dried. Brine shrimp. Microworms are one of the simplest fish foods to culture. These are easy to rear. In addition to adding a welcome change to their feeding routine. These cysts can be hatched as and when needed even after storing them for months and even years. but are also high in fat content. If you have cultured the live food yourself in a healthy environment. They are a good source of nutrition for fish. it also introduces a lot of nutrients that may be lacking in the store food.

and then feed the worms to the fish using a baby eyedropper. The area should be kept moist. Take a shallow container. Now.Cultivation of some common live food Earthworms are some of the most complete sources of food in nature. and place a small piece of fish or meat within the container. They can be given once every week to the fish. Maintain a temperature between 65-75 degrees. The reason being that these larvae are specially bred to be bait. Do not add too much of food. Transfer your starter culture to a large container. Fish that are fed on earthworms grow at a very fast rate. Microworms are fairly easy to cultivate too once you get a fresh starter. just lift up the sack and remove the worms that cling to the sack. They will burrow into the soil to avoid light. Make a few holes in a plastic container. Mix the flour well with half a liter of water. Rinse the worms. The yeast should be mixed in slightly warm water. Earthworms are blind. as this will turn the soil sour. These worms are full of vitamins. flies will start visiting your container and would have laid their eggs on your bait. can be used for the microworms. The simplest way to culture a small quantity of worms is to gather some very heavy sacking on the ground. They are a rich source of fiber. Earthworms prefer a rich.com 64 . Within a few hors. Some scraps of vegetables should be placed in between the sack and the ground to encourage the growth of the worms. Large fish like the Cichlids will eat the adult earthworm in whole. These can then be collected using an ice cream stick. You can feed them with decaying vegetables and eggshells. Mix about one spoon of brewers yeast to the culture. roughage and calcium. These holes should be big enough for the flies to enter. add the fleas. clay free soil. but light sensitive. Various substances like rotting lettuce. Place this in a large container and put it in a shady part of your garden. Make some smaller holes at the bottom of the container. you will see that the worms have filled the surface of the medium and will start climbing over. green water or yeast can be used as food. A starter culture of Daphnia can be store-bought or captured from the wild. Prick small holes into the lid for air exchange. After a few days the larvae will start coming out of the inner container. In 3-5 days. The very small fish species will need the worms chopped or shredded. but not left exposed to the sun all day. When you need the worms. since the water will foul up and the fleas will die due to a lack of oxygen. They have rich supplies of proteins too. while medium size fish will eat worms that are an inch or less in length. they will have toughened skins as well as chemicals in them. The container should receive plenty of sunlight. clean it thoroughly and fill it with alkaline water. including cornmeal or oatmeal or even baby food. These can then be collected and fed to your fish. Do not over-feed the worms. and will drown if their home is flooded. You should not use the maggots supplied by your nearest fishing store. One excellent side benefit of culturing your own microworms is that you can add liquid vitamins to the culture. This should be in a shady spot. Water fleas or daphnia are an excellent supplementary food. Cultivation of maggots is best suited for the summer months. They are also temperature sensitive. Whatever you feed the worms will go directly to the fish too. Gram flour is one of the best substances for food. Add this mixture to the Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Any cereal-based media. The larvae and adult specimens of fruit flies are another hot favorite among fish.

The culture will look cloudy now. but the bottom of the container will still be seen. They need to be maintained with much care in order to see them safely into adulthood. Back swimmers and Beetles can also be caught easily and fed to your larger fish. and even algae should therefore be kept out of the medium while culturing Daphnia. green peas and oatmeal cereal with 5 oz. Live food almost always give the best results because growth rate in fish is noticed to be at least three times faster when they eat live food. Frozen food can be made at home using some of the vegetables and meat from the refrigerator. Crickets. Dissolve gelatin in warm water and add this to the pureed mixture. but some fry require their parents to care for them. Cyclops cannot be used as food for small fry as they attack the fry. Mosquitoes can easily be bred in standing water.com 65 . and Meal Worms are also good fish food. carrot shaving. Here is a favorite recipe: Mix 1 tablespoon each of parsley. can be used as food for larger fish like the Puffer fish. before pouring it into bags. Feeding Fry Newly hatched and just into the aquarium. Let the mixture sit for a minute or two. while adult Brine shrimp can be fed to adult fish (and to very large fry). The shrimp that come out of them are excellent food for fry. Daphnia are sensitive to the presence of other life forms in their water. move this to the freezer. Lay the bags in the fridge to chill for a day. Within a week. but feeder fish can be carriers of diseases or infection. They need excellent water quality and extra security. The larvae of black mosquitoes are especially good as they are full of vitamins. They are available in 3 forms: live. Proper care should be taken before using them as food. The exoskeletons of the Brine shrimp are excellent sources of fiber. including snails. After a day in the fridge. Usually. Goldfish and guppies are widely used as feeder fish. frozen or freeze-dried. of shrimp and fish filet. Insect larvae of Bloodworms. White and Black Mosquitoes. In some fish species. Brine shrimp is another excellent food for fish. Cut the food into chunks and feed the fish. Flies. Puree everything except the gelatin in a blender. Larger species relish these. Cyclops is another tiny animal that can be cultivated at home and that is a good food for large fry and small fish. 3 drops anise extract and keep 3 packets of gelatin ready for use. these seem to trigger the spawning process. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. as the fry are often delicious food for the other carnivores in your aquarium. It is often a good idea to enclose the fry separately. Add 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast. small sources of food suffice for fry. Several types of mollusks.culture. and their larvae can be caught and fed to the fish. fry are indeed very small and helpless. the container will be filled with fleas that can be netted and fed to the fish. The eggs of the brine shrimp are easily available for home cultivation.

Fold this into a bag. Infusoria refers to the various microorganisms that are present in small quantities in the water. Red worms. Whilst they will never damage your plant life. Remember to add some algae from your aquarium as well as a few drops of plant fertilizer to this. Egg yolk prepared at home can also be used to feed fry. so a lot of the food does not get to them. An added benefit is that chasing their prey seems to whet their appetite even further. The eggs will start hatching in 24-36 hours. Your fry are then at risk. The Brine shrimp will settle at the bottom while the eggshells will rise to the top. Infusoria is potentially dangerous to the fry as Infusoria can foul up the water and make it toxic. The algae will develop in 2-3 days. and screw the bag so that a bit of the yolk protrudes out from the bag. Green water or suspended algae can easily be cultured at home. rinse thoroughly and feed the fry. Sufficient aeration is important. Carnivores are meat-eating fish. Carnivores need at least 45% of protein in their food. sooner or later the smaller fish will end up in the carnivore's stomach. If there are smaller fish in the aquarium with a carnivore. add water and one tablespoon of coarse salt to two teaspoons of brine shrimp eggs. After you hard-boil an egg. you will be lucky if you do not find any of the smaller fish disappearing mysteriously. It is advisable to stop the aeration at this point. Feeding Habits There are four basic eating groups among fish: carnivores. without which they become severely malnourished. You will be able to purchase Brine shrimp eggs from your local pet store. These mixtures are usually flake-based food that has been ground to a very fine powder. Dip this bag into the aquarium to feed fry. Siphon out the young shrimps into a fine net. Use an eyedropper to feed this to the fry. omnivores and limnivores. Fry are often too small to be in an aquarium with vigorous filtration. Take a plastic bottle. The temperature should be around 80 Degrees F. herbivores. Newly hatched Brine shrimp is an excellent source of food for fry. Just like many other types of food. The obvious problem with this is that it quickly pollutes the water. otherwise it will spoil. Recommended food for the carnivores would be: Earthworms. This can be cultured and introduced in small quantities to feed fry.com 66 . Take some aged tap water and leave it in a sunny place. carnivores are happiest when they are fed live food like worms. Tubifex worms and Daphnia. and fry are normally surface feeders. roughly 10cm by 10 cm in dimensions. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.You can also use prepared mixes to feed fry. take a small piece of the yolk and put it in a cloth. Although many of the prepared foods are spiked with extra protein to help such fish. Each group of fish needs to be fed in a particular way. Liquid mixtures tend to settle at the bottom of the aquarium. and without filtration the water quality goes downhill very soon. The yolk needs to be replaced in 2-3 days.

If these are kept frozen. rearranging of plants etc will help to control the debris collection in the aquarium. Lean chicken. The excess food will putrefy and degrade the water quality. Herbivorous fish are those that will eat only plants. the aquarium runs a risk of having a badly mauled garden. Understanding your fish and appreciating the differences between the different species help a lot when you feed them. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. These fish need to graze very often. and whether they are fed regularly or not. These can be kept frozen and be chopped into tiny pieces at mealtime. Limnivores are also known as mud-eaters. turkey and salmon. These should be cooked. Recommended foods for this variety are: Cucumber. Oysters. or even for longer periods of time. Supplements in the form of flakes or granules and pellets for added nutrition. Limnivore fish feed mainly on algae and on the microorganisms in your aquarium. Under gravel filters can get clogged with uneaten food wastes. Planting leafy vegetables like spinach into the substrate is a good trick. They are also voracious eaters and aquarists can sometimes mistake their eating frenzy for hunger. and that makes them dangerous to plants as well as to other smaller creatures in your aquarium. there may be times when an adult fish starves for a day or two. Loaches. observation and consideration. shrimps. Omnivore fish will eat pretty much anything. but never fried. The fish will keep nipping at these. It is a common tendency to overfeed these species. If real plants are used. and they do tend to pile on the fat very quickly if overfed. These kinds of fish are constantly eating. The fry have their own feeding needs. Proper feeding practices are a matter of habit. Vegetable flakes come in a variety of flavors. In nature. the culture conditions and the individual fish will all affect the quantity of food you should provide.Larvae of mosquitoes or fruit flies. They require some amount of patience. Care should be taken to remove the frayed plants before they start decaying and rotting in the water. More food also means more waste. Many aquarists who like herbivores keep plastic plants in their aquarium. they need to be thawed and then sliced into slivers. and can be given pellets and algae based foods. Frequent water changes along with cleaning of decorations. they will nip at your plant life. peas and potatoes. The type of food.com 67 . clams and other fish. catfish and other common bottom-feeding fish will help keep the aquarium clean. The younger fish need more frequent feedings than the older ones. Most feeding problems arise due to overfeeding. It is a good idea to feed these fish with fresh veggies. Algal flakes will also be a favorite among this kind of fish.

loss of appetite.com 68 . Adding any unnatural substance into your aquarium should be followed up by a water change in a day or two. No supplement should be left too long in your water. For this reason it is advisable to give your fish vitamin supplements from time to time. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. cloudy eyes. weakness or tumors in fish.Deficiencies in vitamins can cause stunted growth. This will keep the fish as well as the beneficial bacterial colony thriving.

and follow the right procedures. After laying eggs. They Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. When you have grown both the sexes of the same species and feel that they are ready to spawn. The eggs may be adhesive or non adhesive. This becomes visible at the time of spawning. but this is far from the truth. Spawning Methods Sexually. The males of this species are often larger and more colorful. The sexually dimorphic species show obvious primary and secondary characteristics of their gender. and may even eat their own eggs. the parents do not look after them. there are some tips and techniques that will make the whole procedure easy as well as enjoyable. External fertilization followed by egg laying is the way most fish in aquariums will reproduce. It is therefore very difficult to distinguish between the two sexes in this group. There are some species that show no visible difference at all between the two sexes. you will find your fish multiplying fast. In some of these species.Breeding Fish Breeding fish is considered to be a very complicated procedure by many beginners. They lay fewer eggs than egg scatterers. Since it is a new experience. the female have a more rounded belly or is slightly larger than the males. like any other aspect of fish keeping.com 69 . the first step of course is to be able to distinguish between the sexes. Egg layers are classified into five groups: Egg Scatterers These species. as the name indicates. Often. and they usually have a much more elaborate finage. Several livebearing fish species will spawn even in suboptimal conditions. Breeding. scatter their eggs on any surface. fish can be classified into two groups: the sexually dimorphic and the sexually isomorphic species. the only deciding factor could be the shape of the genital papilla.Chapter 6 . The sexually isomorphic species show hardly any apparent differences in the two sexes. People believe that one needs expert knowledge to make fish breed while in captivity. and they often spawn in groups. Their eggs hatch fairly quickly. is a science. Natural conditions stimulate the spawning process. If you get your facts right. These are mostly schooling fish. while egg laying species typically are a larger challenge for a novice. Egg Depositors These fish deposit their eggs somewhere on the substrate. the next logical step would be to recreate the natural surroundings that will best suit breeding. Some species within this group show advanced care for the eggs and fry. For successful breeding of fish.

a pit or similar. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. the mother carrying the young ones needs more nutrition and overall care. Fry of livebearing fish usually takes about 30-32 days to develop. In some species. e. In other species.will deposit eggs in an enclosure. and the fertilization takes place in the mouth of the female. the young are in direct contact with the mother and are fed and nourished by her. Once the fry become noticeable and have started swimming. the female fish carries the eggs and/or larvae in its mouth. Egg depositing species generally don’t eat their own eggs. Livebearers are able to give birth to young ones because of internal fertilization which takes place inside the female. Their eggs are usually larger than those of the scatterers. In this case. In some species. Nest Builders These fish build a kind of nest that is made of plant debris and saliva. Many people breed livebearers to provide food for predatory fish.com 70 . For beginners livebearers are the easiest fish to breed. The good thing about livebearer females is that they are immediately ready to breed again after they drop their young ones. Many factors will affect this development period. Failure to do so will surely land a large percentage of them into the stomachs of bigger fish. Livebearers Livebearers are fish that do not lay eggs. she picks up the fry and carries them in her moth till the fry have become a little bigger.g. In the second type of mouthbreeders. They may also dig a pit in the substrate to lay eggs. Mouth Brooders There are two basic types of mouth brooders. Some species of Cichlids come under this category. Sometimes contact between the cloacal apertures of the male and female fish leads to fertilization. cave. Some just deposit their eggs and then abandon them. the water temperature. they need to be removed from the aquarium unless the aquarium is densely planted. The female in this group receives a mouthful of sperm from the male. the eggs produced by the livebearer will be heavily yoked. The competition to get to these females is intense among the males. Once the eggs hatch. There are also paternal mouthbrooders where the offspring is carried by the male fish. the livebearers will do most of the hard work. If given enough space. the female's age and her level of nutrition. Not all egg depositing species care for their young. The fry come already hatched out of the mother fish. They take care of their young ones. and protect and clean the eggs. Some livebearers will cross breed with other fish and to avoid hybridization these species should not be kept together. the females lay the eggs on a substrate and guard these eggs till they hatch.

This kind of special attention aims at bringing the fish to their topmost reproductive state. A delivery aquarium is advisable when your fish are ready to spawn. The fry are thus out of reach as they will be dropped into a separate plastic compartment attached to the rim of the aquarium. Thus it is a good practice to give the breeders some special attention. A tight cover should be placed on the aquarium as some fish species can become very nervous during this stage and show a tendency to jump. This will save the parent fish from any undesirable stress at such a critical stage in the breeding cycle. such as the very popular Guppy. then they will be laid among the leaves of plants. The eggs will then fall out of the reach of the parents. The bigger fry will eat the smaller ones if they are not separated. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. care should be taken that their eggs fall away from the reach of the parents. it is better to put nylon netting just above the aquarium floor. A special aquarium for rearing fry is also advisable. Some species of fish get into the spawning mode when they are fed highly nutritious food. This can be the same aquarium as the delivery aquarium if the parents are moved from the aquarium once the eggs are laid.com 71 . Optimal survival of the fry is ensured if you segregate the fry depending on their size. hide and move. The primary need of fish that are going to breed is enough space for them to chase. As the fry start developing you can perform a 10% water change the first few days. the chances of her miscarrying while struggling to escape are very high. So. at least till they grow a bit bigger. If the fish lays non-adhesive eggs. Clean water helps keep your fry healthy and fast growing. and than raise this up to a 40% water change every day to keep the water clean. If you have some extra aquariums. a 5-10 gallon aquarium would be the best. The parents should be removed after spawning. they should not be removed until they have stopped rearing the fry and started to prepare for a new spawning. This will save the fry from being eaten up as food by the other fish. and will chase away any potential competitors. There are species that needs very little space and that don’t get especially aggressive. out of reach of the aggressive male. Fish often become territorial when their breeding time approaches. The spawning aquariums for different kinds of fish should be set up according to their particular characteristics.Equipment management while breeding fish The first and foremost need for successful spawning of many species is space. The conditions in the delivery aquarium should be as close to those in the original aquarium as possible. In case the eggs are adhesive. If the breeding aquarium is too small to accommodate the female. This becomes especially dangerous for the younger fish. and more so if they are unable to get to a safer place. The fastest growing fry are almost always the males. If the species guards their young. Some people use a breeding trap as the place where the female livebearer can drop her fry. Egg scatterers will eat their own eggs. For small species of this kind of fish. The needs and requirements of fry are very different from bigger fish. place the two sexes separately in the two aquariums. Filtration too has to be varied in order to accommodate fry. Most males are very aggressive during this time. They need special kinds of food.

There is something very vital in this theory for the aquarist too. This male alone impregnates the sexually active females. You do not have to go through all the steps and wait for the Nitrogen cycle. Brooding does however bring out aggression and brooding fish can cause harm to any other fish in the aquarium. it may be better to put these fish into a new aquarium while they are breeding. Changing water in this aquarium regularly is a must. The best way to clean out the material wastes in this aquarium is to siphon it out using a flexible pipe. and the females prefer the best male since his DNA increases the chances offspring survival. he was only stating what was so very obvious in nature. or rocky caves. If they are the types that care for their young. upturned flowerpots. Keep in mind that it is easy to siphon out some fry also along with the waste. Here are some pointers that will help you choose the right pair: Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.com 72 . The best male of the species will try to impregnate the females. unless you are breeding to provide food for other fish. That is why many animals like the lions etc will have only one dominant male who has successfully defeated all other males in the group. the parents can stay in the aquarium after laying the eggs. plant your aquarium etc since you can use water and bacteria from your established aquarium. An additional aquarium for breeding purpose need not be very big. So. they will appreciate caves or flat stones as breeding sites. If your fish species inhabit rocky areas in the wild. Setting up a new aquarium for breeding purposes is fairly easy. You need to select the male and female very carefully. Putting in plants and caves will give fish a sense of security even if they are not plant spawners. For this reason alone. and so on. It is advisable to provide these fish with broad-leafed plants. Choosing the parents When Charles Darwin laid down the Theory of the Survival of the Fittest. He continues to be the leader until a healthier and stronger male defeat him. Since the fish are being transported from the old aquarium. it is best to siphon out the waste into a clean bucket. Mouth brooders can be left in the main aquarium even when they are spawning because the eggs as well as the young are well protected by the parent. When your fish are ready to breed. it will not do to select just any pair. Usually an aquarium with a capacity of 2-6 gallons would suffice for most fish. This will help you to save any nosey fry.Egg depositors should get aquariums decorated in accordance with their egg depositing behavior. coconut shells. Using a foam filter for a few weeks in your old aquarium will help you collect a good quantity of beneficial bacteria that can be easily moved to the new aquarium. flat stones. Decorations and plants can be kept to a minimum for most species. they will already be acclimatized to this water. The best way to set up your aquarium easily is to take water from your existing aquarium and use this to start your new aquarium.

The appetite of a fish is often an indicator of its general health and vitality. The water current. Compatible pairs make good partners. Unhealthy fish and fish that are not mature enough will not produce healthy fry. in Cichlids. Providing the right water conditions is one of the first steps. lighting and temperature should also be taken into consideration. Some fish mate only when they are in schools. please keep in mind that the resulting fry may be unattractive.com 73 . Never sell crossbreed fish as pure fish. The mates that have been selected for spawning should be given food that is very high in protein. you need to condition the fish so that they spawn. finage or other qualities that you want to breed on. An exception from this rule can be if you have an older specimen with exceptional code coloration. movements and vitality are also healthy. You should therefore only choose healthy and mature fish for breeding. Proper aquarium set-up that provides for enough "security". Fish that have good finage. The age of the fish is also important while you consider mating partners. fish form pairs only after they have been put together in an aquarium for many months. Always see that the pair you are choosing are able to get along well. Live food seems Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Isolating these fish will discourage spawning.Fish that have brighter colors and good markings are the healthiest in a stock. Providing the right food is the next important thing to do. because some of them look very similar. Conditions that are as similar to their natural habitats should be provided. Do not mix impure strains with pure strains. hiding places and crevices is essential. Do not use fish that appear stunted or deformed in any way. one of them may even bully the other to death. Conditioning the parents After choosing the parents. If the fish are not compatible. In case you want to experiment crossing two different strains. It is possible to mistake the females of different species. For instance. Making certain changes in the environment will also help you to encourage the fish to spawn. One of the most effective ways to do this is to simulate their natural habitats as closely as possible. It is better to go for younger fish that are in their prime rather than choosing older fish that have almost reached the end of the reproductive lives. Hybrids made by crossing two different species are often sterile. Only fish that have a good appetite should be selected for breeding. Hybrids should be avoided and should never be sold as anything other than hybrids.

For instance.com 74 . The male fish sees the new fish as a possible encroacher in his territory and he will then pair up with the female fish to isolate the target fish. Most fish respond to the first change in water conditions . and will also eat any dead fry. Apple snails are very laid back and do not attack any fish. filtration and aeration methods. If this is the case. when trying to breed small cichlids. the fry's first food and the body size of the fry till it reaches about three months of age. Sometimes. You can also add one or a couple of apple snails into the aquarium. Some fish spawn during the rainy season. and such situations should be avoided. when the female was added. Of course. These snails will eat debris. All conditions are as they should be. fish should be fed heavily. Sometimes. remember to clean up the aquarium after each feeding. the detailed water chemistry. fish introduced into a new aquarium are too nervous to come out into the open. Tips for effective breeding Anything that you have placed in the aquarium traps debris. but still there is no success. A dither fish is an easygoing. You should keep accounts of the species name. remove any breeding traps that have been in the aquarium before. Reduce the water level in the aquarium to half the normal height. It should be noted that some species of fish will kill any kind of target fish.like soft water or altered water temperature. You can feed the fish up to three times a day. It can therefore be a good idea to simulate these conditions in the aquarium too. the date on which the fry was released/hatched. During this time. Calm and peaceful midwater fish makes the best dither fish. A drip system or a spray bar will help to add to the notion. Add soft water that is slightly cooler that the aquarium water. A target fish is a perceived threat to the territorial fish. approximate ages of the parents. This is actually a very simple procedure. As soon as the fry come out. even in spite of doing just about everything to ensure success. you will find that your fish just does not breed. Apple snails also produce a good supply of infusorians and can even provide the fry's first supply of food. In this case. using some zebra danios as target fish will not pose any threat to either fish. harmless fish. A hyperactive and aggressive fish is definitely not the right dither fish. Add 5% of the aquarium volume everyday. Apple snails will not eat live fry. This will help you when you need to repeat the process. you can use a "dither" fish to calm the other fish. This process can be repeated till fish show signs of spawning. Keeping a detailed log of the entire process is a very good idea. Once the nervous fish see the dither fish swimming about happily without being consumed by predators. This works best in territorial fish. In such cases. it is best to use a "target" fish to jump-start the process. They will remain hidden for days and will refuse to settle down. Fish that are stressed in this way will never pair up and breed.to be a catalyst in this process. The important thing here is to ensure that your target fish is in reality not a threat to the existing fish or vice versa. they too will settle down and come out of Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. it will also suffice if you place the target fish in a different aquarium alongside the mating aquarium so that the male can see but not touch.

The bag should not have too much air in it. the newly hatched Angelfish cannot eat this powder. The larvae that hatch have almost nothing in common with their parents. Once this is over. Powdered flake food is commonly fed to fish fry in aquariums. the better. due to their ability to save sperm. Taking care of your fry requires some special attention.their hiding places. but powdered flake food is not the best fry food. These are some of the many things that you need to keep in mind when the fish start spawning. They will be enclosed in a big yellow yolk sac and will not be able to swim at all. the female may release only a few of the babies at the beginning. For instance. and wipe it with your finger so that it is only a little wet. it is recommended to keep the parents with the fry. The larvae will eat up the egg sac until the yolk is fully gone. Wet the end of the pick in water. Raising Fry Once the eggs are laid. "Green water" or egg yolk can also be fed to the fry. It needs to eat infusoria or baby brine shrimp for the first few days. Do not expect your fry to come out ready for a swim and a feed. a female can be full of fertilized eggs that will soon begin to develop into fish. Then squeeze the bag in your hand and mash the flake as well as you can. This is especially important if the fish are the types that eat their young. This is just to reassure the nervous fish that nothing will harm them when they come out into the open. How do you know when to do what? And what are the best conditions for keeping the fry alive. like the Goldfish. Some young ones. You will need to feed them several times a day.com 75 . The best way to add in small amounts of powdered food is by using a toothpick. the fry begin to get hungry and look for food. The fry may take up to a few weeks to develop. This powder is quite fine and is acceptable for many fry to start off with. In some livebearers. The wet toothpick should now be dipped into the powdered flakes. while other species need to be fed immediately. Take a plastic bag and put in 1-2 tablespoons of flake food. Most livebearers will eat lots of baby brine shrimp. Baby brine shrimp is a very important food for most fish fry. In case of fish that care for their brood. Even after this. Livebearers can release several more batches of fry even if there are no males around. The more powdered it is. you can remove the parents in none fry guarding species. She may take a few hours or even a day to release the entire batch of fry. Powdered flake food is however better than nothing if it is all you got when the fry arrives. Infusoria is a good food for tiny fry. and some of these fry will likely be stillborn or even eggs. will not eat for the first 40-48 hours of their life. Putting in only a small amount of food for the fry is also a bit difficult. and this definitely makes them grow faster and healthier even Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. But some fry find even this too big to eat. Touch this tip in the water just above the fry.

Stressed fish will not spawn. Fish that are too young or too old must be avoided at all costs. the right temperature for the species you select in addition to any necessary spawning triggers have to be used efficiently. The first major stumbling block for the beginner aquarist is failure to get the fish to spawn. some species need the perfect set up. This will make them stressed. One advantage in hatching the eggs at home is that these can then be fed special additives that will directly be transferred to your fry. the female fish will select the male fish that is in its prime.com 76 .if livebearers are among the fry that can be raised on powdered flake food alone. the fry usually grow pretty fast. differentiating between the two sexes is very difficult indeed. Novice breeders also need to be very careful with the water chemistry. Having a fixed feeding schedule also helps the fry grow faster. For the beginner it is also important to choose the right species to breed as some species are much easier than others to breed. hatch them and use them to feed fry. Failure in Reproduction Reproductive failure is one of the most frustrating experiences for the aquarist. problems may arise at the time of hatching too. Sexing the fish correctly is the next big step. and the eggs that are laid as a result may not get fertilized. well planted and nicely filtered provide the best conditions for rearing fry. The quality of the offspring will be affect by the kind of water in which it was bred. You have to get a fully working testing kit and learn how to use it. Frequent water changes are a MUST if you want healthy fry. the right food. So. After they start feeding. Do not keep checking on your fish every few minutes. stable water chemistry and sufficient warmth contribute greatly towards the well being of your fry. Higher quality in the breeding stock directly influences the viability of the spawn. The biggest impediment to hatching is water quality. Remember that the filtration in an aquarium that contains small fry will be less efficient than the filtration in a proper aquarium as the circulation has to be kept lower. In some species. Aquariums that are well lit. Thus frequent water changes. this is not to be taken lightly. The number of feedings is also higher and the wastage will also be more. Some fry are too small to be able to eat newly hatched brine shrimp and such fry will need infusoria the first few days before they can start eating brine shrimp. Bad water quality is not conducive to spawning. Feeding should be done several times a day for optimal growth. The eggs of Brine Shrimp are carefully processed and collected and are sold in many pet stores. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. These failures can occur at any stage of the reproductive cycle. The aquarist can purchase these eggs. Once the fish has spawned. Left to itself in nature. Males that are too young or too old will not have viable sperms. You cannot just put your selected pair in a tub of water and expect them to get on with their work. especially a beginner. A separate spawning aquarium with or without plants according to the needs of your species is the first step in the right direction. A deep knowledge of the species. For success.

the eggs will not develop properly. However. The eggs dry up when they come into contact with air. if the right steps are followed. As a result the eggs may catch fungus and die. newborn Molly fry are susceptible to protozoan infection. Disease and vitamin deficiency are some other factors that play a decisive role in the ability of a fish to spawn. the Molly may also give birth to unformed fry that appear almost at the same time as the swimming fry. As stated earlier. Of these. the novice may want to try Steel Blue Killifish. Among egg-layers. In some species. Hard water will cause the shells of the eggs to harden. There are some varieties that are highly suited for the novice to breed. it is seen that the absence of any male will cause two females to pair off. Obviously. the Guppy. the Molly. Again. but it can be achieved quite easily.and even if the fish do spawn. the Tiger Barbs. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.com 77 . If the eggs are removed to a hatching aquarium. Sudden changes in temperature will halt the development of the egg. Mollies and Guppies are very similar in their breeding patterns. the eggs may instead collapse. Obviously. Pairing off a female with a male that is too old or young will also cause the eggs to be underdeveloped. the Platy and the Swordtail are the easiest to spawn. livebearers are among the easiest to breed and will most likely spawn spontaneously in your aquarium without you even trying to coax them. no eggs will be fertile after such a spawning. some Dwarf Cichlids like Kribs. hatching of such eggs will never take place. breeding fish is a reasonably challenging task. They appear as white eggs and must be disposed off without delay. Sometimes. Remember that as in humans the female carrying the eggs as well as the eggs themselves must be in the best possible surroundings. Over-feeding the fish and making them obese will rob some male species of their virility. care must be taken that they are not exposed to the atmosphere for long. The water in the hatching aquarium must be as similar to that in the original aquarium as possible. Sterility is also a common cause for reproductive failure. Maintaining the right condition inside the aquarium will help the dwellers of the aquarium to go about their work in a healthy manner. If the water is too soft. and in very hard water the shells can become too hard and make hatching difficult or impossible. various Danios or the White Cloud Mountain Minnow.

should be erect and spread well. Choose fish that eats well. This is bound to happen at one time or the other. These conditions can range from improper water chemistry to the actual presence of undesirable parasites in their water. Individual parts of the fish need to be closely examined. the right water chemistry and the right kind of food. You do not want fish that seem to be hiding or creeping about. Breathing should be normal. The eyes should not be bulging and or clouded. That means that they were living in a particular habitat before you got them home. Healthy fish will swim horizontally throughout the aquarium. Fins should not appear ragged or torn. there are many things that can go wrong. Here are some things that you should keep in mind while selecting and buying new fish: Go by the looks of the fish. ulcers or peeling scales. Feeding traits are very good indicators of fish health. Parasites can appear as small white crystals. do not choose fish that seems to bully or getting bullied. it is important to know what that fish looks like in normal conditions. The symptoms shown by the fish are merely reactions against improper conditions in the aquarium. especially the dorsal fins. It is possible to keep your fish stress free and disease free if you provide them with the right environment. Fish waste should be dark in color. Dark or patchy coloration may be an indicator of stress. good finage etc. Since you are trying to recreate an open and unlimited ecosystem within the confines of your 50 or 60-gallon / 200 L aquarium. There should be no boils. black tiny nodules etc. Behavior of fish should also be observed. well-rounded stomachs and a well-proportioned body are all indications of a strong and healthy fish. Also.Chapter 7 – Diseases One of the most trying times that you will need to face as an aquarist is when your fish fall ill. Buying healthy fish Most of the fish you will start out with are store bought. Look for any signs of disease. Many of these ailments cannot actually be termed a disease. The fins. The fight against disease begins from the moment you go to get your fist fish. Physical characteristics of good health include bright colors. Look for any visible parasites clinging to your fish's body. Do NOT go for fish that look dull or pale. Fish should not gasp for air. Gill movements that seem to be very quick may indicate stress. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.com 78 . Flat and smooth scales. Look for positive interactions. The gills should be a nice pink. Before you buy a particular variety. and they should definitely not be clamped close to the body of the fish.

Introduce the fish slowly into your own aquarium. this is not a difficult task at all. Once you have bought the fish. The pH of the water should be at level that is most suited for the species you are keeping in the aquarium. Strong and healthy fish are typically very resilient toward disease attacks. If you can.These indicators are true for most fish and all beginner fish. Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen levels need to be monitored regularly. It is only when the fish are weakened by stress or by factors like persistent aggression that they give in to sickness. If you know what to look for. Sick fish will start exhibiting strange patterns in their behavior. Allow the fish some time to get used to the new water that is his home now. Having a number of fish in a closed aquarium requires some amount of hard work and only a responsible aquarist can keep his or her fish healthy. Prevent diseases Providing the right water chemistry is one of the most important things you can do in order to prevent disease in the aquarium. Never buy a fish that looks stressed in the store. there are some more things that you need to keep in mind. Fish that act "weird" in the store hardly ever settle down at home. When fish do fall sick. you will be surprised at how much information you will be able to collect by just observing the fish you are going to buy. Here is a list of water properties that need to be checked as often as possible: The temperature of the water has to be kept stable.com 79 . Any hopes that you will nurse it back to good health are misplaced. Some traces of algae are healthy for the fish and are also indications of a healthy habitat within the aquarium. If you observe your fish regularly. You will however notice that there are exceptions from these rules as you grow more experienced. the best chance for easy and fast cure is when you can catch the sickness in its earliest stages. Ammonia. A completely waste free environment is a dream. Many times. it is a good idea to use an antibiotic dip before you introduce the fish into the aquarium. Nitrate. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Regular water changes are a MUST for any disease-free aquarium The Nitrogen Cycle is another important step that many impatient beginners loath to perform. Nitrite. but getting as close to it as is humanly possible should be the endeavor. Filter out as much waste as possible. Unfortunately. These are the various elements that can tip the balance in your aquarium. especially if you are a newbie. there are times when even the best care falls short of the required care. it is when the initial signs have been ignored that the fish really become too ill and reach a sad end.

A planted aquarium is more difficult to look after. A 50-100W heater will suffice for a small aquarium. Once the fish are out of the hospital aquarium. In such a case.Fish seems to be tired and stays put in one corner of the aquarium. White sores and/or spots. it is called a hospital aquarium.The scales of the fish stick out.fins that are held very close to the body and not spread out Head standing . You can use this aquarium to isolate and cure diseased fish too. Red sores on the body. Keep all decorations to the barest minimum. It is advisable to put some kind of scenery at the back of the aquarium as this makes the fish feel more secure and protected. almost like on a pine cone. This is the aquarium in which the fish will recuperate. Using a power filter may disturb the ailing fish due to the water disturbance it can cause.Fish swims with its head down. especially if it uses carbon. Quarantine Aquarium It is very advisable to have a simple quarantine aquarium.com 80 . Disinfect the aquarium using Potassium Permanganate or Diluted Hydrochloric Acid. The quarantine aquarium also does not need any plants. Provide an air stone that will maintain high oxygen levels in the water since some medications deplete the oxygen content in water.Leaning on to one side or the other. This is the aquarium in which you will first keep your new fish. A small aquarium is all that you need. Since there are not plants. Tail Standing .Fish swims with its tail down. or thread like marks on the body. the aquarium must be cleaned thoroughly before it can be used again. Chemical filtration.Sick fish will almost always display at least one of these symptoms: Clamped Fins . Leave the chemical in the aquarium for a couple of days. This will make the aquarium easy to manage. and Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. A single sponge filter that was kept running in the main aquarium can be used in this aquarium. you do not need to use a lighting system. Filtration can also be kept simple. Listing . Scales pointing out . though providing some simple hiding places is advisable. can deprive your aquarium of any medications that you put inside the aquarium and should therefore not be used. Lethargy . This will also transport the beneficial bacteria into the new aquarium. There is no need to put in any substrate. The fish will feel more secure in a subdued and dimly lit aquarium. An anus that is red or protruding from the body.

Gill Disease Gill disease make the fish appear to be swimming in a great hurry. The fins flap very fast. especially in the vicinity of the mouth.then clean and rinse the aquarium thoroughly. this disease is caused by protozoa named Ichthyophthirius Multifilis and is very contagious. conditioning and dechlorinating the water to ensure its quality are steps to take to threat and prevent gill disease. per gallon / 4L. but Malachite Green may be harmful to scaleless fish. The parasite spends a part of its life within the skin of the fish. Columnaris disease is caused by bacteria. slowly building upto5-8 tsp per gallon / 4L. it is better to keep the level at 5 tsp. Since the parasite is released into the aquarium. where they form the white spots. this is often confused with another disease called "Mouth Fungus". Using medications based on Malachite green and formalin is also a way to control this parasite. the gills get affected and slowly sores start appearing on the body. The gills become swollen and discolored. An outbreak of Ick is very difficult to control if not noticed in the earlier stages. Anti-bacterial medications will be enough if the disease is discovered and treated at its early stages. Hence. Sometimes. The aquarium is then ready to be setup again when needed. The disease will however invade the internal organs during the later stages and antibiotics are then required to cure it. These patches appear like threads. The chlorine in water often irritates the gills of the fish. The fins of the fish may show signs of deterioration. and the fish gasp for breath at the surface. Columnaris Grayish white marks or patches on the body of the fish or around its mouth are the first obvious signs of Columnaris. One of the effective ways to treat it is by adding salt to the water. These are the cysts. Ick Ick is a disease that causes your fish to get small. Once the cysts mature they fall down to the substrate and give rise to thousands of new free-swimming parasites that are free to prey upon other fish. In the case of more sensitive fish. grain-like spots on their body.com 81 . Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. The salt should be added gradually. the shock of being introduced to the new aquarium leads to Columnaris disease in newly imported fish. In freshwater. fungi and parasites in water can cause gill disease. or lie listless at the bottom. but it does not move at all. During a later stage the fish can hold its fins very close to the body and not spreading them. giving an impression of scratching an itch. and is mostly a direct result of poor water quality. Ick is also known as White Spot Disease or Ich. The fish may try to rub itself against the décor or the hard surfaces in the aquarium. the entire aquarium has to be treated. Bacteria. The first step in the treatment is therefore an immediate improvement in water quality. Frequent water changes. Different fish have different tolerance level for salt. Adding an anti-bacterial solution to the water may be needed to cure the fish.

When fish are stressed. thus providing double protection. then the disease takes root. or when the fins have already been damaged due to excessive fin nipping. otherwise healthy fish may come and eat the dead one. Dropsy The common physical characteristic of this disease is a hollow or swollen abdomen. and can become infectious when the fish already have damaged gills or skin. Hole in the head disease is cause by protozoa and is usually a secondary infection. The fish become listless. Most of the anti-fungal medications available on the market also fight bacteria. The holes are usually white in color and have a yellowish mucous trailing from them. Keep in mind that increased water temperature may deplete the oxygen in the aquarium. Fin-rot As the name suggests. White. Direct injections or medicated food are some ways to treat the fish. Increasing the water temperature speeds up the life cycle of the protozoa. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. The fish's scales may stand out in these swollen areas. Fungal Infections The spores of fungus are always present within the aquarium. Viruses as well as bacteria can cause dropsy. The fish should be isolated in a quarantine aquarium and then treated. Commercially available remedies do best. Dropsy is however is not highly infectious. Commercially available anti-bacterial medicines have to be used to treat the fish. Anti-fungal medicines are usually the best option to fight the infection. Bad water or infected food is things that can lead to dropsy out brakes in your aquarium. Once the damage reaches the kidney. Low levels of the protozoa that causes hole in the head disease live within the fish. The bacteria that cause this generally do not affect healthy fish. the fish dies. the condition becomes almost incurable. It is easy to mistake such fish for pregnant females.com 82 . the fish develop small pits mainly in the region of the head. The erosion of the fin may continue till it reaches the base of the fin. This disease is unfortunately very difficult to cure even if discovered early. The fish appear listless and lose appetite. The disease must therefore be caught early if you should be able to save your fish. fin rot causes the fins to turn opaque and they may even become blood-streaked. Fungal infections are typically secondary infections.Killing the parasite can be done only when the cysts have fallen down and the parasites are released into the water. cottony growth on the body of the fish is the main physical symptom. lose color and stop feeding. Dead fish should still be immediately removed from the aquarium. and poor water quality and/or poor diet leads to the infection. At this point. Hole in the Head As the name suggests.

It refuses to feed. but can turn into a problem when the fish becomes weakened due to some other reason. unable to rise. The cause could be bacteria. The causes behind this disease can vary. medication will be needed.Pop-Eye The name suggests the physical symptom. The best way to treat fish lice is to remove the lice using a set of tweezers. and treat it with general anti-bacterial medicine. Isolate the fish. Red spots or sores develop. There is considerable debate about the cause of this disease and the best way to cure it. Treating this condition requires an investigation of water quality. A loss of buoyancy is one of the first indications. The first indication is that the gills turn a different color and the fish gasp for breath and become Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. If the infestation is heavy. The fish stays at the bottom of the aquarium. Fish Lice Small. An increase in parasites in the aquarium is the most common cause but severe stress. or malnutrition can all lead to this condition. Cloudy Eye The eye becomes cloudy almost to the point of whiteness and the fish lose vision. Ammonia poisoning is caused when too much organic waste is present in the water. The fish becomes listless and bloated. the fish will usually recover by them selves within 1-2 weeks. Swim Bladder Disease This mostly affects fish that have a globoid body shape. Anti-worm medication developed for aquariums are usually affective against nematode worms. Once the water quality is high enough. Siphon the substrate daily to get rid of eggs. If the pH of the water goes above 7. Any damage to this membrane causes this disease. it is advisable to wait for 1-2 weeks before administering antibiotics. Too much dissolved oxygen in the water may also lead to this condition. There is no universal cure.0 the ammonia turns deadly and toxic for the fish. Nematodes are commonly present even in healthy fish. This is due to the fact that the swim bladder is what helps the fish to remain buoyant. and a thin threadlike worm will drift out of the anus. or float at the surface only. Thus. old age. white lice are apparent on the body of the fish and the fish rub themselves against the hard surfaces in the aquarium. The fish's eye starts to enlarge and looks almost as if it is ready to pop out of the body. Water Quality Induced Diseases The most common among these are caused by an imbalance in the water chemistry. Nematode Worms The anus of the fish may protrude a little.com 83 .

visible changes are not very quick and you can never be sure whether your fish are taking a turn for the better or not. Good aeration and frequent water changes are the best way to treat and prevent this problem. The fish remain panting for breath and hang just below the surface. Medicated food products are another effective way of fighting parasites. Poisoning may also occur by using untreated tap water. they eliminate not only the symptoms but also the cause of the disease. The duration of the bath and the concentration of the additive are species-dependent and also depends on the disease. Awareness of the use and effect of the various medicines is a must before you can start using this kind of treatments. The source of the waste has to be removed and the pH of the water should be reduced to treat this condition. These medicated foods are not governed or monitored by any governmental agency. One has to be careful while doing this because some fish get too stressed when there is a change in temperature. Some well known brands can be trusted to deliver quality products. They cannot be taken out. depending upon what you are treating. There are certain steps that should be followed when treating fish. Therefore. feed medicines or help the fish to recuperate? Giving the fish a bath is a good way to treat some disorders.com 84 . Carbon Dioxide poisoning can be caused by too much of Carbon Dioxide. so the food concerned may never have been tested for effectiveness or for safety. You should use chemicals like formalin or additives like salt in the water you bade the fish in. If these steps are followed one after the other. fish are also very delicate. So. Nitrite or Nitrate poisoning shows itself by making the fish appear too bright. The temperature of the water should be increased gradually by no more than 1 Degree C per hour until you reach the desired range.listless. how does one apply medications. Compared to many other pets. Always follow instructions that are based on the need of your fish species and the disease in question. Any negative reactions call for an immediate cessation of the therapy. The fish should be constantly monitored while the treatment is going on. You should purchase only such food that has a detailed list of the ingredients along with their concentration printed on it. The fish will be introduced into a bucket containing medicated water. Unlike other pets. the medicated food that you give your fish may be practically useless or even harmful to some fish. but lesser known brands need to be tested with caution. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. especially if the disease is inside the body. Treating Fish There are several ways in which fish can be treated. Heat therapy is used when it is necessary to kill certain parasites by raising the temperature. treated and put back into their homes without exposing them to great risks.

About 30-50% of the water should preferable be changed each day. After one day. care must be taken to follow the instructions given.com 85 . Filters. stress and death in aquaria is bad water. the next step is to check whether any toxic substances have dripped into the water by mistake. Treat the water accordingly. This process should be repeated if you are unsure of the proper diagnosis. Also remember that some medicines will remove oxygen from water and aeration is therefore a must in a hospital aquarium. If none of these seem to be the cause. Smaller fish can be dropped into boiling water for a quick death. Never mix two medications in the same aquarium unless there are specific instructions to do so. Closely examine the fish for any parasites or new signs of infection. nitrate. cleaning agents. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity.The first thing to do when you need to diagnose a fish is to observe it. Once the use of medicines is over. The ammonia. This will remove all traces of infection and leave the fish germ free by the time it returns to the community aquarium. care must be taken to add more medicine if required. In spite of the best of care. it is time to move the fish to a shallow bowl or aquarium. If the problem is the water quality. Start by moving the infected fish out of the community aquarium and into the quarantine aquarium. Next. it is perhaps better to put it out of its misery. nitrite. The fish should be kept in isolation for about 10 days even if the fish is showing signs of improvement. The first and the most widespread cause of ailment. along with UV sterilizers and ozonizers should be removed before using medications since these will render the medicine ineffective. go on to eliminating the possible causes of the signs you se. but not more often than once a day since it is very stressful for the fish. while higher doses could damage the fish further or even kill it. if any. If these are within the optimum ranges. Carbon. fix it immediately. Check if all environmental conditions are in proper order. Now it is time to check the various accessories in the aquarium. You should also check if any aggressor has attacked the fish and if that may be the cause behind the symptoms. heaters. and all absorbing filter media. The water in the quarantine/hospital aquarium should be changed daily. pH and oxygen levels have to be checked. pesticides etc are some things that can get into water quite inadvertently. air pumps etc have to be checked carefully to se that they are working correctly. Paint fumes. While changing water. The fish need to be treated once you have identified the disease. This ensures that the spread of infection is curtailed. if your fish still ails. changing the water frequently and in smaller quantities will help. This is sometimes the most humane thing that can be done. Return the fish to the hospital aquarium once the inspection is completed. make sure that there are no traces of the medicine left in your aquarium. Severing the spinal cord quickly with a very sharp knife is one of the most painless ways to put a large fish out of its misery. While medicating the fish. Observe what signs of disease that are seen and what behavioral patterns have changed. If you find a problem. disease. Make sure that your quarantine/hospital aquarium is ready to receive patient/s. then move to the next step. Too low a dose will be ineffective.

There are certain procedures that need to be followed at every stage. When you adhere closely to the beaten path and try to give your fish the best possible conditions.com 86 . The chances of the infection spreading to other fish are also very high. your fish will thrive. The risks of infection are high in an overloaded aquarium. It is also important to introduce new fish carefully into your aquarium. Courtesy of Aquaticcommunity. Do not stuff your aquarium with too many fish. Keeping an aquarium is very easy if you understand the various principles behind it and approach it scientifically. That is why the importance of the quarantine aquarium never can be overstressed. Once you have gained more experience and gotten to know your particular specimens better.Many times your fish will recover when you take care of the water chemistry. New fish are sometimes carriers of harmful parasites. Aquarium overload is another factor that can lead to disaster. you can work more freely and improvise in order to suit their particular needs.

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